Acute phase predictors of subsequent psychosocial burden in carers of elderly stroke patients.

Department of Geriatric Medicine, Ullevaal Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
Cerebrovascular Diseases (Impact Factor: 3.7). 02/2001; 11(3):201-6. DOI: 10.1159/000047639
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The objective was to describe the psychosocial burden experienced by informal carers of elderly stroke victims, and to identify its predictors among baseline characteristics of the patients. From a prospective study of 171 elderly stroke patients admitted to a geriatric ward for rehabilitation in the acute phase, 68 patients living at home with a primary caregiver were identified 6 months after the stroke. At baseline, all the patients were assessed with respect to motor function, cognitive function, global handicap and activities of daily living, and after 6 months the caregivers were assessed, using the Relatives' Stress Scale. According to this, the most frequent impacts were worries that an accident might befall their relatives, that they had to reorganise their household routines and further, that their social life and ability to take holidays had been reduced. Impaired cognitive function was the only baseline patient characteristic that predicted a subsequent psychosocial burden on the carer. Special attention should be paid to elderly stroke patients initially assessed with impaired cognitive function and their caregivers.

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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Despite the growing body of literature on the consequences of providing non-professional care to stroke survivors, the determinants of caregiving burden are still not fully recognized. Identification of significant determinants can facilitate caregiver intervention programs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the level of burden borne by caregivers of stroke patients and to identify the most important determinants of burden at 6 months after hospitalization. Material and methods Data were collected from 150 pairs of stroke patients/caregivers. Caregiver burden was assessed on the Caregiver Burden scale (CB). Several characteristics were measured as potential predictors of the burden. Special attention was paid to the caregiver's sense of coherence (SOC) and anxiety. Regression analysis was employed to test the hypothesized relationships between these variables and the burden. Results Forty-seven percentage of the caregivers reported a substantial burden (severe or moderate). Caregiver SOC (p < 0.001), anxiety (p < 0.001) and the patients’ functional status (p < 0.001) were the most important predictors of the overall burden and the most consistent predictors of the majority of aspects included in the CB scale. Caregiver health, patient's gender, time spent caregiving and social support were also factors related to the burden. The identified predictors explained 67% of the variance in the overall burden. Conclusions Clinicians and other professionals should focus on the coping abilities of caregivers, their emotional state and the level of patients’ dependency, as these are the vital and modifiable factors affecting caregiver burden following stroke.
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