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Burden of caring for people with dementia – comparing family caregivers and professional caregivers. A descriptive study

Authors Seidel D, Thyrian JR

Received 1 May 2019

Accepted for publication 10 June 2019

Published 14 August 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 655—663


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Désirée Seidel,1,2 Jochen René Thyrian2,3

1Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Helios Kliniken, Schwerin, Germany; 2German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Site Rostock/Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany; 3Institute for Community Medicine, Section Epidemiology of Health Care and Community Health, University Medicine, Greifswald, Germany

Purpose: Caring for people with dementia is known to be accompanied by burden for the caregiver. This study aims at describing family caregivers’ and professional caregivers’ burden immediately after hospitalization of the person with dementia.
Materials and methods: Twenty-five family caregivers and twenty-five professional caregivers of the locked gerontopsychiatric ward of a hospital in Northern Germany completed a questionnaire (BIZA-D-PV), which was evaluated in matched samples. The distribution of frequencies, differences in mean values and correlations were determined. Furthermore, family caregivers were categorized into risk groups.
Results: Family caregivers perceived a higher burden due to cognitive impairment as well as aggressive and disoriented behavior of the person with dementia compared to professional caregivers. Differences with regard to care tasks were not detected. Female family caregivers rated a higher burden compared to male family caregivers, whereas in the sample of professional caregivers males perceived a higher burden. Correlations between several dimensions of burden and caregivers’ age, severity of dementia as well as physical symptoms were described. Categorizing family caregivers into risk groups showed high risks for depression of the caregiver, violence against the person with dementia and institutionalization of the person with dementia within the next months in 44–72% of cases.
Conclusion: Our findings emphasize the importance of acquiring knowledge about caregivers’ burden in the course of time in order to develop targeting interventions to decrease caregivers’ burden and to prevent hospital admissions of people with dementia due to a crisis of home caring.

Keywords: care of older people, informal care, formal care, nursing care, gerontopsychiatric hospital, cross-sectional study

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