The main objective was to analyse the Zarit scale's (ZS) ability to identify signs of caregiver collapse amongst people looking after patients suffering from dementia. We also evaluated the dimensions most affected by the ZS and risk factors associated with caregiver burden and collapse.
We administered the ZS and semi-structured interviews to identify signs of caregiver collapse amongst 66 people looking after patients suffering from dementia. We evaluated the risk factors associated with the patient: age, sex, type of dementia, place of residence, length of illness, behavioural disorders, incontinence, the Barthel index (IB), the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS), Folstein's Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the use of day-care centres and also risk factors associated with the caregiver: age, sex, relationship with the patient, help received with caring, the patient's illness, other family responsibilities and other work outside the home.
There was a large degree of agreement between the findings from the interview and the ZS (Kappa = 0.545; p < 0.001). With regard to the risk factors evaluated in this study, there was a statistically significant relationship between behavioural disorders and both burden (p < 0.27) and collapse (p < 0.17) and between caregiver collapse and the caregiver and patient not living at the same home (p < 0.27).
The ZS is not only useful for identifying caregiver burden, but also for predicting main caregiver collapse. Behavioural disorders and not living with the patient are the main causes of caregiver burden and collapse.
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 10/2007; 22(10):957-62. DOI:10.1002/gps.1770 · 3.09 Impact Factor