The demand for caregiving is growing, the result of which is that care is increasingly being delivered by a mix of formal and informal providers. One of Job van Exel’s topics of enquiry is: who, then, bears primary responsibility for caregiving? "But we shouldn’t make a mountain out of a molehill."
Once when he was still a young and unsuspecting researcher, Job van Exel included his telephone number on a questionnaire he was sending out to a sample of a few hundred informal carers. He found himself fielding calls from full-time carers for the next three weeks. Some were calling with simple queries about the questionnaire, or to say that it was nice to have someone finally pay attention to carers. But some were calling in desperation, and were on the phone for up to an hour and a half telling him about how they’d been referred from one agency to the next or about the abuse they’d suffered as carers.
The young researcher quickly deduced that there was a much bigger story behind the ones he was hearing. The accounts also motivated him to do something to improve the visibility of the four million informal carers in the Netherlands. Now a professor at the Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management, Van Exel remains just as devoted to this objective.