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Vol 46, No 3 (2012)

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Caregiver burden after stroke: towards a structural model

Krystyna Jaracz1, Barbara Grabowska-Fudala1, Wojciech Kozubski2
DOI: 10.5114/ninp.2012.29130
Neurol Neurochir Pol 2012;46(3):224-232.

Abstract

Background and purpose

Stroke may impose a severe burden on both the patients and their caregivers. Although there is substantial literature relating to the adverse impact of stroke on patients, considerably less is known about its impact on their caregivers. The aim of this study was to analyse predictive factors of the overall burden in caregivers of stroke victims and to verify the structural model of burden, built on the basis of theoretical and empirical assumptions.

Material and methods

One hundred and fifty pairs of patients and their caregivers were evaluated. The Caregiver Burden Scale (CB), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Sense of Coherence Scale (SOC), Social Support Scale, Geriatric Depression Scale, Barthel Index and Scandinavian Stroke Scale were all used to evaluate caregiver burden and the characteristics of patients and caregivers.

Results

The caregivers experienced a moderate burden (mean CB = 2.08) and emotional distress (mean total HADS = 14.1). Path analysis showed that higher burden was associated with a lower SOC score, higher emotional distress, and lower patient's functional status. Higher emotional distress, in turn, was associated with lower SOC and lower patient's functional status. These results show that the burden and the degree of emotional disturbance are two distinct negative consequences of caregiving.

Conclusions

The negative consequences of caregiving depend mainly on the caregiver's intra-psychic factors and the patient's disability. Professional interventions should be targeted at enhancing caregivers’ ability to cope with stress, improving their caregiving skills and reducing the physical dependence of patients.

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Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska