Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Impact of care
  3. Longitudinal study

Longitudinal study

The following resources examine longitudinal investigations of carers and caring situations.

Click on the title of any resource to find out more about the source of the information such as the type of reference, ISBN/ISSN, publication year, keywords. A number of these fields can be used to find further resources i.e. with the same keywords, or by the same author using the links on the right-hand side and within the Key Information box.

You can also click on an author's name in the list below to find further resources by that author, and use the DOI and other links to access the original source material (note: some source materials require subscription or permission to access).
 

The effect of caregiver's and nurse's perception of a patient's discharge readiness on postdischarge medical resource consumption

Aims The purpose of this study was to validate patient's primary caregiver and their nurse's perception of patient discharge readiness assessment and their association with postdischarge medical consumption. Design The study employed a descriptive research, prospective longitudinal study design. Method The study was performed in a ward of a medical centre in Taipei, Taiwan, from June 2017–May 2018. Obtained data were analysed using an independent t test, one‐way ANOVA and logistic regression approach. Results/findings The number of comorbidities and the number of days of hospital stay were positively associated with post discharge emergency room visits. Caregiver readiness for hospital discharge had significant negative correlation with patient's 30‐day readmission. Both caregiver and nurse readiness for the hospital discharge scale score were not factors associated with the patients' 30‐day emergency room visit. Conclusion Based on the research findings, to assess the discharge readiness as perceived by caregivers at patients' discharge is recommended. Impact Caregiver and nurse scores on readiness for hospital discharge showed a significant positive correlation. The higher the score of a caregiver's readiness for a patient's hospital discharge, the lower the 30‐day readmission rate. Family‐centred care enables patients to safely pass though the transition phase from hospital to community and reduces the postrelease consumption of medical resources. The discharge readiness perceived by caregivers should be included in any decision‐making

Access source material through DOI

The relationship between engagement in online support groups and social isolation among military caregivers: Longitudinal questionnaire study

Background: There is a lack of research on the effectiveness of online peer support groups for reducing social isolation and depressive symptoms among caregivers, and previous research has mixed results. Objective: This study aimed to test whether military caregivers who joined a new online peer support community or engaged with an existing online community experienced decreased perceived social isolation and improved depressive symptoms over 6 months. Methods: We conducted a longitudinal study of 212 military caregivers who had newly joined an online community and those who were members of other military caregiver groups. Multiple indicators of perceived social isolation and depressive symptoms were assessed at baseline and at 3 and 6 months. Results: Compared with caregivers in the comparison group, caregivers who joined the new group experienced less perceived social isolation at 3 months (eg, number of caregivers in social network [unstandardized regression coefficients] b=0.49, SE 0.19, 95% CI 0.87 to 0.02), but this effect did not persist at 6 months. Those who engaged more with new or existing groups experienced less perceived social isolation over time (eg, number of caregivers in social network b=0.18, SE 0.06, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.27), and this relationship was mediated by increased interactions with other military caregivers (95% CI 0.0046 to 0.0961). Engagement with an online group was not associated with improvements in depressive symptoms. Conclusions: Online communities might help reduce social isolation when members engage with the group, but more intensive treatment is needed to improve depressive symptoms. 

Access source material through DOI

Longitudinal evaluation of the effects of illness perceptions and beliefs about cardiac rehabilitation on quality of life of patients with coronary artery disease and their caregivers

Background: Patients' negative illness perceptions and beliefs about cardiac rehabilitation (CR) can influence uptake and adherence to CR. Little is known about the interpartner influence of these antecedent variables on quality of life of patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and their family caregivers. The aims of the study were: 1) to assess differences in illness perceptions, beliefs about CR and quality of life between patients with CAD and their family caregivers upon entry to a CR programme and at 6 months follow-up; and 2) to examine whether patients' and caregivers' perceptions of the patient's illness and beliefs about CR at baseline predict their own and their partner's quality of life at 6 months. Methods: In this longitudinal study of 40 patient-caregiver dyads from one CR service, patients completed the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire and Beliefs about Cardiac Rehabilitation Questionnaire at baseline and 6 months; and caregivers completed these questionnaires based on their views about the patient's illness and CR. The Short-Form 12 Health Survey was used to assess patients' and caregivers' perceived health status. Dyadic data were analysed using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model. Results: Most patients (70%) were men, mean age 62.45 years; and most caregivers (70%) were women, mean age 59.55 years. Caregivers were more concerned about the patient's illness than the patients themselves; although they had similar scores for beliefs about CR. Patients had poorer physical health than caregivers, but their level of mental health was similar. Caregivers' poorer mental health at 6 months was predicted by the patient's perceptions of timeline and illness concern (i.e. partner effects). Patient's and caregiver's illness perceptions and beliefs about CR were associated with their own physical and mental health at 6 months (i.e. actor effects). Conclusions: Overall, the patients and caregivers had similar scores for illness perceptions and beliefs about CR. The actor and partner effect results indicate a need to focus on specific illness perceptions and beliefs about CR, targeting both the individual and the dyad, early in the rehabilitation process to help improve patients and caregivers physical and mental health (outcomes). 

Access source material through DOI

Trajectory of psychosocial measures amongst informal caregivers: Case-controlled study of 1375 informal caregivers from the English longitudinal Study of ageing

Informal caregivers provide vital support for older adults living in the community with chronic illnesses. The purpose of this study was to assess the psychosocial status of informal caregivers of community-dwelling adults over an eight-year period. Informal caregivers of adult care-recipients were identified from Wave 1 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) cohort. Multivariate regression analysis models were constructed to assess the association between participant's psychosocial characteristics and informal caregiving. Multilevel modelling explored the psychosocial changes between caregivers and non-caregivers over eight years. 1375 informal caregivers and 2750 age-matched non-caregivers were analyzed. Self-reported loneliness (Odd Ratio (OR): 0.26; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 0.01-0.51) and relationship status (OR: 0.36; 95% CI: 0.16-0.46) were independently associated with caregiving. Caregivers were more socially isolated with less holidaying abroad (OR: 0.51; 95% CI: 0.35-0.66), attendance to church (OR: 0.30; 95% CI: 0.11-0.49), or charity groups (OR: 0.35; 95% CI: 0.14-0.55). On multilevel analysis, over time (eight-years), caregivers reported greater loneliness (p < 0.01), change in relationship status (p = 0.01) and reduced control, autonomy, and pleasure (p ≤ 0.01) compared to non-caregivers. Given the deleterious effects caregiving can place on health and wellbeing, further interventions are required to improve these psychosocial factors.

Access source material through DOI

Social support, social participation, & depression among caregivers and non-caregivers in Canada: a population health perspective

Objectives: The study used data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging to investigate the relationships among social support (measured as affectionate support, emotional/informational support, positive social interaction, tangible support), social participation and depression in caregivers and non-caregivers. Method: Hierarchical multiple regression was used to investigate relationships among social support, social participation, and depression. Analyses of variance were used to examine differences in the means of social support, social participation, and depression between the two participant groups. Results: Higher levels of affectionate support, positive social interaction, and social participation were associated with lower depression scores. Social participation was a significant mediator of the relationship between caregiver status and depression. Caregivers reported significantly higher levels of affectionate support, emotional/informational support, positive social interaction, and social participation than non-caregivers. There were no between-group difference in depression scores. Discussion: The study provides support for the beneficial role of social participation in preserving caregiver mental health. Results are discussed in the context of policy and practice implications for caregivers in Canada. 

Access source material through DOI

Caregiver strain on informal caregivers when providing care for older patients undergoing major abdominal surgery: A longitudinal prospective cohort study

Background: Health-care systems nowadays rely on complementary patient care by informal caregivers. The need for, and burden on, informal caregivers will likely increase in the upcoming years. This study aimed to examine the burden on caregivers when providing care for elderly patients undergoing major abdominal surgery. Methods: A single-centre longitudinal cohort study was conducted between November 2015 and June 2018 in the Amphia hospital in Breda, the Netherlands. Patients aged 70+ undergoing elective surgery for colorectal carcinoma (CRC) or an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) were included in this study. Informal caregiver burden was assessed and compared over time using the Caregiver Strain Index (CSI) at the outpatient clinic visit, at discharge, 2 weeks post-discharge and after 6 and 12 months. The effects of patient- and caregiver-related factors on the experienced caregiver strain were examined. Results: CSI scores of 248 caregivers were significantly increased at discharge (3.5 vs 2.6; p < 0.001) and 2 weeks post-discharge (3.3 vs 2.6; p < 0.001). After 12 months, scores dropped below baseline scores (1.8 vs 2.6; p = 0.012). The highest strain was observed 2 weeks post-discharge for AAA patients and at discharge for CRC patients. Older age, physical or cognitive impairment and burden of comorbidity were associated with an increased caregiver strain at baseline. Type of surgery was independently associated with the change in mean CSI scores over time; a bigger change in caregiver burden is observed after open surgery. Conclusion: In the early postoperative period, perceived caregiver strain was significantly increased. Psychological support for caregivers may be advisable, with timing of this support depending on diagnosis and patient-related factors. Trial registration: This manuscript was retrospectively registered on 05-04-2016 in the Netherlands Trial Register (NTR5932). http://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=5932. 

Access source material through DOI

Outcomes and change processes of an established family education program for carers of adults diagnosed with a serious mental health condition

Background Family education programs (FEPs) target caregiving-related psychological distress for carers of relatives/friends diagnosed with serious mental health conditions. While FEPs are efficacious in reducing distress, the mechanisms are not fully known. Peer group support and greater mental health knowledge are proposed to reduce carers' psychological distress by reducing stigmatising attitudes and self-blame, and strengthening carers' relationship with their relative. Methods Adult carers (n = 1016) who participated in Wellways Australia's FEP from 2009 to 2016 completed self-report questionnaires at the core program's start and end, during the consolidation period, and at a 6-month follow-up. Those who enrolled early completed questionnaires prior to a wait-list period. We used linear mixed-effects modelling to assess the program's effectiveness using a naturalistic wait-list control longitudinal design, and multivariate latent growth modelling to test a theory-based process change model. Results While there was no significant change over the wait-list period, psychological distress, self-blame and stigmatising attitudes significantly decreased, and communication and relationship quality/feelings increased from the core program's start to its end. Changes were maintained throughout the consolidation period and follow-up. Peer group support significantly predicted the declining trajectory of distress. Peer group support and greater knowledge significantly predicted declining levels of self-blame and stigmatising attitudes, and increasing levels of communication. Conclusions This is the first study to quantitatively validate the mechanisms underlying the effect of FEPs on carers' psychological distress. Peer group support is key in modifying carers' appraisals of their friend/relatives' condition. Continued implementation of FEPs within mental health service systems is warranted. 

Access source material through DOI

Support needs and health-related quality of life of family caregivers of patients requiring prolonged mechanical ventilation and admission to a specialised weaning centre: A qualitative longitudinal interview study

Objectives: Family caregivers of patients requiring prolonged mechanical ventilation may experience physical and psychological morbidity associated with a protracted intensive care unit experience. Our aim was to explore potentially modifiable support needs and care processes of importance to family caregivers of patients requiring prolonged mechanical ventilation and transition from the intensive care unit to a specialised weaning centre. Research methodology/design: A longitudinal qualitative descriptive interview study. Data was analysed using directed content analysis. Setting: A 6-bed specialised weaning centre in Toronto, Canada. Findings: Eighteen family caregivers completed interviews at weaning centre admission (100%), and at two-weeks (40%) and three-months after discharge (22%) contributing 29 interviews. Caregivers were primarily women (61%) and spouses (50%). Caregivers perceived inadequate informational, emotional, training, and appraisal support by health care providers limiting understanding of prolonged ventilation, participation in care and decision-making, and readiness for weaning centre transition. Participants reported long-term physical and psychological health changes including alterations to sleep, energy, nutrition and body weight. Conclusions: Deficits in informational, emotional, training, and appraisal support of family caregivers of prolonged mechanical ventilation patients may increase caregiver burden and contribute to poor health outcomes. Strategies for providing support and maintaining family caregiver health-related quality of life are needed. 

Access source material through DOI

Longitudinal changes on the quality of life in caregivers of type 2 diabetes amputee patients

Purpose: To explore changes in the quality of life of caregivers of amputees due to type 2 diabetes ten months after amputation.; Methods: This is a longitudinal study with three moments of evaluation (T1: one month after surgery, T2: 7 months, T3: 10 months). The sample comprised 110, 101, and 84 caregivers of amputated patients with type 2 diabetes. Caregivers answered a Socio-demographic questionnaire; the Self-Assessment Caregiver; the Family Disruption from Illness Scale; and the Short Form Health Survey (SF36).; Results: Stress levels were not significantly reflected in changes on mental quality of life over time, except in the caregivers who presented less stress, emphasizing the adverse role of stress when experienced on a continuous basis for ten months on the caregivers' mental well-being. Caregivers presented greater number of physical symptoms at T2 that decreased at T3.; Conclusions: According to the results, in order to promote caregivers' physical and mental quality of life, it would be important to evaluate stress levels especially in patients who presented somatic complaints.

Access source material through DOI

Informal caregiving for dementia patients: the contribution of patient characteristics and behaviours to caregiver burden

Objectives The burden often associated with informal caregiving for patients with dementia is associated with negative effects on health, both physiologically and in terms of caregiver cognition. There is wide variation in the level of burden experienced by dementia caregivers. To better understand caregiver burden, it is thus important to understand the factors associated with level of burden. Methods In the current study, we collected carer burden and putative associated factors at baseline, 6 and 12 months. Hierarchical regression was used to assess the impact of these factors on caregiver burden. We assessed self-reported carer burden, patient behavioural and safety issues, and level of difficulty associated with providing assistance with activities of daily living (ADL). Patients' age was also recorded, and trained nurses assessed patient cognitive performance using the quick mild cognitive impairment screen. Results At baseline, patients' age, cognition and ADLs were associated with burden, and safety and challenging behaviour were both significantly associated with burden independent of the other factors. Change in burden was associated with change in carer-reported safety at 6-month follow-up, and with change in safety and change in carer-reported challenging behaviours at 12-month follow-up. Conclusions Safety issues and challenging behaviours are associated with carer burden, even after accounting for cognitive and functional impairment in the person with dementia. As dementia progresses, monitoring these factors may help to inform stress-management strategies for caregivers.

Access source material through DOI

The Impact of Resilience Factors and Anxiety During Hospital Admission on Longitudinal Anxiety Among Dyads of Neurocritical Care Patients Without Major Cognitive Impairment and Their Family Caregivers

Background/objective: Anxiety is common in patients experiencing neurocritical illness and their family caregivers. Resilience factors like mindfulness and coping skills may be protective against symptoms of emotional distress, including anxiety. Less is known about the interplay of anxiety symptoms and resilience factors between patients and caregivers. The purpose of this study is to examine the trajectory of anxiety symptoms among dyads of neurocritical care patients without major cognitive impairment and their family caregivers and to elucidate the relationship between resiliency (e.g., mindfulness and coping) and anxiety in these dyads.; Methods: Prospective, longitudinal study of adults admitted to the neurological intensive care unit (Neuro-ICU) and their caregivers. Dyads of patients (N = 102) and family caregivers (N = 103) completed self-report measures of mindfulness (Cognitive Affective Mindfulness Scale-Revised) and coping (Measure of Current Status-Part A) during Neuro-ICU hospitalization and anxiety symptoms (anxiety subscale of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) during hospitalization and at 3- and 6-month follow-up. We used actor-partner interdependence modeling to predict the effect of one's own baseline characteristics on one's own and one's partner's future anxiety symptoms.; Results: Rates of clinically significant anxiety symptoms were 40% for patients and 42% for caregivers at baseline. Of these, 20% of patients and 23% of caregivers showed moderate and severe symptoms. Approximately, one-third of patients and caregivers reported clinically significant anxiety symptoms at 3- and 6-month follow-ups, with more than 20% endorsing moderate or severe symptoms. Patients' own baseline mindfulness, coping, and anxiety symptoms were associated with lower anxiety symptoms at all time points (ps < 0.001)-this was also true for caregivers. For both patients and caregivers, one's own baseline mindfulness predicted their partner's anxiety symptoms 3 months later (p = 0.008), but not at 6-month follow-up.; Conclusions: Anxiety symptoms in Neuro-ICU patient-caregiver dyads are high through 6 months following admission. Mindfulness is interdependent and protective against anxiety in dyads at 3-month but not 6-month follow-up. Early, dyad-based interventions may prevent the development of chronic anxiety in patients without major cognitive impairment and caregivers.

Access source material through DOI

Clinical effectiveness of the START (STrAtegies for RelaTives) psychological intervention for family carers and the effects on the cost of care for people with dementia: 6-year follow-up of a randomised controlled trial

Background The START (STrAtegies for RelaTives) intervention reduced depressive and anxiety symptoms of family carers of relatives with dementia at home over 2 years and was cost-effective. Aims To assess the clinical effectiveness over 6 years and the impact on costs and care home admission. Method We conducted a randomised, parallel group, superiority trial recruiting from 4 November 2009 to 8 June 2011 with 6-year follow-up (trial registration: ISCTRN 70017938). A total of 260 self-identified family carers of people with dementia were randomised 2:1 to START, an eight-session manual-based coping intervention delivered by supervised psychology graduates, or to treatment as usual (TAU). The primary outcome was affective symptoms (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, total score (HADS-T)). Secondary outcomes included patient and carer service costs and care home admission. Results In total, 222 (85.4%) of 173 carers randomised to START and 87 to TAU were included in the 6-year clinical efficacy analysis. Over 72 months, compared with TAU, the intervention group had improved scores on HADS-T (adjusted mean difference -2.00 points, 95% CI -3.38 to -0.63). Patient-related costs (START versus TAU, respectively: median 5759 pound v. 16 pound 964 in the final year; P = 0.07) and carer-related costs (median 377 pound v. 274 pound in the final year) were not significantly different between groups nor were group differences in time until care home (intensity ratio START:TAU was 0.88, 95% CI 0.58-1.35). Conclusions START is clinically effective and this effect lasts for 6 years without increasing costs. This is the first intervention with such a long-term clinical and possible economic benefit and has potential to make a difference to individual carers. Declarations of interest G.L., Z.W. and C.C. are supported by the UCLH National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre. G.L. and P.R. were in part supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) North Thames at Bart's Health NHS Trust. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. Z.W. reports during the conduct of the study; personal fees from GE Healthcare, grants from GE Healthcare, grants from Lundbeck, other from GE Healthcare, outside the submitted work.

Access source material through DOI

Trajectories of social resource use among informal lung cancer caregivers

Background: Social support is a key component in maintaining cancer caregiver well-being, and many resources exist to facilitate caregivers' use of social support (eg, cancer support groups). This study sought to determine how informal cancer caregivers use social resources over the course of caregiving.; Methods: The data are from the Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System study of informal caregivers (n = 202) of patients with recently diagnosed lung cancer. Caregivers self-reported their sociodemographic and caregiving characteristics and social resource use over 6 months. Generalized additive models were used to assess social resource use over time, and generalized estimating equation logistic regression models were used to assess the correlates of social resource use.; Results: Nearly two-thirds of caregivers reported any social resource use. The most prevalent social resources were faith-based groups (38%) and social clubs (30%). Only 1 in 4 caregivers participated in a formal resource such as counseling (11%) or a cancer support group (6%). Social resource use was lowest immediately after the diagnosis and increased over time. Formal resource use exhibited a nonlinear association with time such that formal resource use peaked approximately 9 to 10 months after the cancer diagnosis. Caregivers were more likely to report social resource use if the patient also reported social engagement.; Conclusions: This study has found that many cancer caregivers do not use social resources, although social resource use increases over time after the cancer diagnosis. Because of the association between social engagement and well-being, this information may inform future research and interventions to improve outcomes for cancer caregivers and their families.

Access source material through DOI

Quality of life in family caregivers of patients in the intensive care unit: A longitudinal study

Background: Family caregivers of patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) experience impairments in the quality of life. Previous studies report that psychological quality of life improves over time, but there has been limited longitudinal research, and measurement points have differed. Factors such as age, gender, and posttraumatic stress symptoms have been found to be associated with the quality of life, but level of hope and its associations with the quality of life have not been investigated.; Objectives: The objective of this study was (1) to evaluate changes in the quality of life in family caregivers during the first year after a patient's admission to the ICU and (2) to identify associations between patients' and family caregivers' background characteristics, posttraumatic stress symptoms, hope, and quality of life.; Methods: A longitudinal study design with five measurement points was used. Family caregivers completed study questionnaires at enrolment into the study and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after the patient's admission to the ICU. The quality of life was measured with the 12-Item Short Form Health Survey.; Results: Family caregivers (N = 211) reported improved psychological quality of life during the first year after the patient's admission to the ICU, but it was still lower than the psychological quality of life reported in norm-based data. Being on sick leave, consulting healthcare professionals (e.g., general practitioner), and increased level of posttraumatic stress symptoms were significantly associated with psychological quality of life, whereas hope was not. Reported physical quality of life was comparable to norm-based data.; Conclusion: Family caregivers of patients in the ICU reported impairments in quality of life during the first year after the patient's admission to the ICU. Being on sick leave, consulting healthcare professionals, and reduced posttraumatic stress symptoms may improve mental quality of life.

Access source material through DOI

Male and Female Partner-Caregivers' Burden: Does It Get Worse Over Time?

Background and Objectives The general view is that partner-caregiver burden increases over time but findings are inconsistent. Moreover, the pathways underlying caregiver burden may differ between men and women. This study examines to what degree and why partner-caregiver burden changes over time. It adopts Pearlin's Caregiver Stress Process Model, as it is expected that higher primary and secondary stressors will increase burden and larger amounts of resources will lower burden. Yet, the impact of stressors and resources may change over time. The wear-and-tear model predicts an increase of burden due to a stronger impact of stressors and lower impact of resources over time. Alternatively, the adaptation model predicts a decrease of burden due to a lower impact of stressors and higher impact of resources over time. Research Design and Methods We used 2 observations with a 1-year interval of 279 male and 443 female partner-caregivers, derived from the Netherlands Older Persons and Informal Caregivers Survey Minimum Data Set. We applied multilevel regression analysis, stratified by gender. Results Adjusted for all predictors, caregiver burden increased over time for both men and women. For female caregivers, the impact of poor spousal health on burden increased and the impact of fulfillment decreased over time. Among male caregivers, the impact of predictors did not change over time. Discussion and Implications The increase of burden over time supports the wear-and-tear model, in particular for women. This study highlights the need for gender-specific interventions that are focused on enabling older partners to be better prepared for long-term partner-care. 

Access source material through DOI

Longitudinal dyadic interdependence in psychological distress among Latinas with breast cancer and their caregivers

Purpose: Cancer diagnosis and treatment can generate substantial distress for both survivors and their family caregivers. The primary aim of this investigation is to test a model of dyadic interdependence in distress experienced by cancer survivors and their caregivers to determine if each influences the other.; Methods: To test this prediction, 209 Latinas with breast cancer and their family caregivers (dyads) were followed for 4 waves of assessment over the course of 6 months. Both psychological (depression, anxiety, perceived stress) and physical (number of symptoms, symptom distress) indicators of distress were assessed. Longitudinal analyses of dyadic data were performed in accordance with the actor-partner interdependence model.; Results: Findings indicated that psychological distress was interdependent between cancer survivors and their caregivers over the 6 months of observation. However, there was no such evidence of interdependence on indicators of physical distress.; Conclusions: These findings are consistent with emotional contagion processes and point to the potential importance of caregiver well-being for the welfare of Latina breast cancer survivors.

Access source material through DOI

Financial Strain, Employment, and Role Captivity and Overload Over Time Among Dementia Family Caregivers

Background and Objectives This study examined how financial strain and changes in employment status affect subjective stressors over 12 months in 184 family caregivers of individuals with dementia. Research Design and Methods Subjective stressors of role overload and role captivity, and employment status were measured at baseline, 6-, and 12-months. Self-reports on financial strain were measured at baseline only. Caregivers were categorized into 3 groups based on changes in their employment status during the study over 12 months: (a) who were never employed, (b) who experienced some sort of employment status change, either going from employment to unemployment or vice versa, and (c) who were always employed. Growth curve analyses were conducted to examine within-person changes in role overload and role captivity, and associations with employment and financial strain. Results Caregivers with greater financial strain at baseline had higher levels of role overload and increasing role captivity over time. Caregivers who experienced a caregiving transition and had low financial strain at baseline showed greater decrease in role captivity over 12 months. Although caregivers who were consistently unemployed reported lower levels of role overload, they also showed steeper increase over time than those who were consistently employed. Discussion and Implications Caregivers' perceptions of financial strain add to the long-term stress of the caregiving role. Changes in caregivers' employment status may have complex associations with their feelings of stress over time. 

Access source material through DOI

Effect of caregiving at end of life on grief, quality of life and general health: A prospective, longitudinal, comparative study

Background: Determining the effect of caregiving and bereavement remains a challenge. To date, no study has employed a comparison group to investigate caregivers' grief, quality of life and general health in relation to non-caregivers.; Aim: We aimed to determine how caregivers' grief, quality of life and general health changed following death compared to non-caregivers and whether pre-death grief predicted these outcomes.; Design: A prospective, longitudinal study of family caregivers and a comparison group matched for age, gender and postcode was conducted. All participants completed questionnaires at four points - once pre-death and three times post-death (3-4 months, 6-7 months and 9-10 months).; Setting/participants: Participants (N = 70) were family caregivers of persons receiving palliative care, mostly for cancer, recruited from three palliative care providers in Western Australia and matched comparisons recruited from advertisements.; Results: There were significant differences between the caregivers' and comparisons' grief, general health and quality of life at pre-death, 3-4 months and 6-7 months post-death, but not at 9-10 months post-death. The rate of progression in these constructs following death was independent from the intensity of pre-death grief. However, caregiver prolonged grief score significantly predicted prolonged grief score at 6-7 and 9-10 months post-death.; Conclusion: It took 9-10 months for the caregivers' grief, general health and quality of life to correspond to the comparison group. These findings present an opportunity for palliative care research and practice to consider how best to support the majority of caregivers without grief complications so that their pre- and post-death support needs are realised.

Access source material through DOI

Bereaved Family Cancer Caregivers' Unmet Needs: Measure Development and Validation

Purpose/background: Accumulating evidence shows that bereaved family caregivers report elevated distress for an extended period, which compromises their quality of life. A first step in the development of programs to enhance bereaved caregivers' quality of life should be determining the needs they experience to manage the loss, and the needs that are not being satisfied. Thus, this study aimed to develop a new measure to assess unmet needs among bereaved family caregivers.; Method: The 20-item Needs Assessment of Family Caregivers-Bereaved to Cancer measure was developed and validated with bereaved cancer caregivers 5 (n = 159) and 8 (n = 194) years after the initial cancer diagnosis of the index patient, when stress in providing care to the patient was assessed.; Results: Exploratory factor analysis yielded two primary factors: unmet needs for reintegration and unmet needs for managing the loss. Bereaved caregivers who were younger and ethnic minority, and who had greater earlier perceived stress of caregiving, reported their needs were more poorly met (t > 2.33, p < .05). The extent to which bereaved caregivers' needs to manage the loss were not perceived as being met was a consistent and strong predictor of poor adjustment to bereavement at both 5- and 8-year marks (t > 1.96, p < .05), beyond the effects of a host of demographic and earlier caregiving characteristics.; Conclusion: Findings support the validity of the Needs Assessment of Family Caregivers-Bereaved to Cancer and suggest that interventions to help bereaved caregivers manage the loss by assisting their transition to re-engagement in daily and social activities will benefit caregivers by mitigating bereavement-related distress years after the loss.

Access source material through DOI

Depressive symptoms among adult children caregivers in China: moderating effects of working status and gender

Objectives: With over one-fifth of the world's older population, shrinking family size and increasing number of women in the workforce, elder care is a growing challenge for families in mainland China. This study explored the moderating effect of working status and gender on caregiving time and depressive symptoms among adult children caregivers in mainland China. Method: Participants were 660 adult children caregivers from a nationally representative sample of individuals aged 45 + (N = 13,204) who participated in the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) Wave 2 (2013). Multiple linear regression was used to analyze the direct effect of caregiving time and the moderating effects of working status and gender on symptoms of depression among caregivers. Results: Significant main effect between caregiving time and depressive symptoms was found controlling for demographic covariates. The three-way interaction between working status, gender and caregiving time was also significant. Working status and gender moderate the effect of caregiving time on depressive symptoms: among employed men and women caregivers, spending more hours providing care predicted fewer depression symptoms. Unemployed men caregivers who spent more hours providing care showed highest level of depressive symptoms. Conclusion: The relationship between caregiving time and depressive symptoms was moderated by working status and gender. Future research is needed to explore factors that influence changes in caregivers' health and well-being over time. 

Access source material through DOI

Long-term prevalence and predictors of prolonged grief disorder amongst bereaved cancer caregivers: A cohort study

Context The short-term impact of prolonged grief disorder (PGD) following bereavement is well documented. The longer term sequelae of PGD however are poorly understood, possibly unrecognized, and may be incorrectly attributed to other mental health disorders and hence undertreated. Objectives The aims of this study were to prospectively evaluate the prevalence of PGD three years post bereavement and to examine the predictors of long-term PGD in a population-based cohort of bereaved cancer caregivers. Methods A cohort of primary family caregivers of patients admitted to one of three palliative care services in Melbourne, Australia, participated in the study (n = 301). Sociodemographic, mental health, and bereavement-related data were collected from the caregiver upon the patient's admission to palliative care (T1). Further data addressing circumstances around the death and psychological health were collected at six (T2, n = 167), 13 (T3, n = 143), and 37 months (T4, n = 85) after bereavement. Results At T4, 5% and 14% of bereaved caregivers met criteria for PGD and subthreshold PGD, respectively. Applying the total PGD score at T4, linear regression analysis found preloss anticipatory grief measured at T1 and self-reported coping measured at T2 were highly statistically significant predictors (both p < 0.0001) of PGD in the longer term. Conclusion For almost 20% of caregivers, the symptoms of PGD appear to persist at least three years post bereavement. These findings support the importance of screening caregivers upon the patient's admission to palliative care and at six months after bereavement to ascertain their current mental health. Ideally, caregivers at risk of developing PGD can be identified and treated before PGD becomes entrenched.

Access source material through DOI

Development of a Caregivers' Support Platform (Connected Health Sustaining Home Stay in Dementia): Protocol for a Longitudinal Observational Mixed Methods Study

Background: Dementia disease is a chronic condition that leads a person with dementia (PwD) into a state of progressive deterioration and a greater dependence in performing their activities of daily living (ADL). It is believed nowadays that PwDs and their informal caregivers can have a better life when provided with the appropriate services and support. Connected Health (CH) is a new technology-enabled model of chronic care delivery where the stakeholders are connected through a health portal, ensuring continuity and efficient flow of information. CH has demonstrated promising results regarding supporting informal home care and Aging in Place, and it has been increasingly considered by researchers and health care providers as a method for dementia home care management. Objective: This study aims to describe the development and implementation protocol of a CH platform system to support informal caregivers of PwDs at home. Methods: This is a longitudinal observational mixed methods study where quantitative and qualitative data will be combined for determining the utility of the CH platform for dementia home care. Dyads, consisting of a PwD and their informal caregiver living in the community, will be divided into 2 groups: the intervention group, which will receive the CH technology package at home, and the usual care group, which will not have any CH technology at all. Dyads will be followed up for 12 months during which they will continue with their traditional care plan, but in addition, the intervention group will receive the CH package for their use at home during 6 months (months 3 to 9 of the yearly follow-up). Further comprehensive assessments related to the caregiver's and PwD's emotional and physical well-being will be performed at the initial assessment and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months using international and standardized validated questionnaires and semistructured individual interviews. Results: This 3-year funded study (2016-2019) is currently in its implementation phase and is expected to finish by December 2019. We believe that CH can potentially change the PwD current care model, facilitating a proactive and preventive model, utilizing self-management-based strategies, and enhancing caregivers' involvement in the management of health care at home for PwDs. Conclusions: We foresee that our CH platform will provide knowledge and promote autonomy for the caregivers, which may empower them into greater control of the care for PwDs, and with it, improve the quality of life and well-being for the person they are caring for and for themselves through a physical and cognitive decline predictive model. We also believe that facilitating information sharing between all the PwDs' care stakeholders may enable a stronger relationship between them, facilitate a more coordinated care plan, and increase the feelings of empowerment in the informal caregivers.

Access source material through DOI

The Beneficial Role of Mindfulness Facets in Relatives of People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Objectives: Providing support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) can be a major source of stress for the family caregivers. It is therefore important to identify resilient and protective factors for caregivers. This study examined whether mindfulness facets predict over time fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression and better quality of life for the family caregivers of people with IDD. Methods: A sample of 143 Spanish relatives of people with IDD (122 women and 21 men), aged between 18 and 78 (M = 46.87, SD = 12.16), participated in a two-time 6-month longitudinal study. Participants completed measures of anxiety, depression, quality of life, and mindfulness facets at the beginning of the study. Six months later, they again completed measures of psychological symptoms and quality of life. Results: The findings indicated that acting with awareness and non-reacting were the most beneficial mindfulness facets for caregivers. Acting with awareness predicted a reduction of anxiety (β = − 0.16, p < 0.01) and depression (β = − 0.17, p < 0.05) and an increase in quality of life (β = 0.19, p < 0.05) at the follow-up. Non-reacting predicted a reduction of anxiety (β = − 0.16, p < 0.05) and depression (β = − 0.13, p < 0.05) over time. Conclusions: The results of the study show the beneficial role of mindfulness facets and suggest the importance of studying the effect of mindfulness-based interventions for the relatives of people with IDD. 

Access source material through DOI

Comparing the Effects of Grief and Burden on Caregiver Depression in Dementia Caregiving: A Longitudinal Path Analysis over 2.5 Years

Objectives: Caregivers of persons with dementia can experience loss and grief long before the death of the person. Although the phenomenon of caregiver grief has been increasingly described, it is uncertain if caregiver grief has independent effects—separate from the well-studied construct of caregiver burden—on adverse outcomes such as caregiver depression. We sought to compare the effects of baseline grief and burden on caregiver depression at baseline and 2.5 years later. Design and Setting: A cohort study with 2.5 years of follow-up. Participants: Family caregivers of community-dwelling persons with dementia (n = 183). Measures: Participants completed questionnaires with scales that assessed caregiver grief, burden, and depression. Baseline grief and burden scores were included in a path analysis to predict depression at baseline and at 2.5 years. Results: At baseline, grief and burden had synergistic relationships with each other (P = .012), where the high levels of grief amplified the effect of burden on caregiver depression. Both grief and burden had longitudinal effects on caregiver depression at 2.5 years (P <.001 and P = .047, respectively), albeit with some differences in mechanism; both had effects which were indirectly mediated through baseline depression (P < .001 and P = .002, respectively), but only grief had a direct path toward depression at 2.5 years (P = .030), which was distinct from baseline depression. Conclusions and Implications: The findings highlight the need to identify and address caregiver grief in dementia services. They present a window of opportunity to improve caregiving outcomes, especially during the “latent phase” when caregivers encounter loss and grief but have yet to fully experience the debilitating effects of depression.

Access source material through DOI

Psychosocial singing interventions for the mental health and well-being of family carers of patients with cancer: Results from a longitudinal controlled study

Objective The mental health challenges facing people who care for somebody with cancer are well documented. While many support interventions focus on provision of information or cognitive behavioural therapy, the literature suggests that psychosocial interventions could also be of value, especially given the low social support frequently reported by carers. Singing is a psychosocial activity shown to improve social support, increase positive emotions, and reduce fatigue and stress. This study explored whether weekly group singing can reduce anxiety, depression and well-being in cancer carers over a 6-month period. Design A multisite non-randomised longitudinal controlled study. Setting The Royal Marsden National Health Service Trust in Greater London. Participants 62 adults who currently care for a spouse, relative or close friend with cancer who had not recently started any psychological therapy or medication. Interventions On enrolment, participants selected to join a weekly community choir for 12 weeks (n=33) or continue with life as usual (n=29). Outcome measures The primary outcome was mental health using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. The secondary outcome was well-being using the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale. Using linear mixed effects models, we compared the change in mental health and well-being over time between the two groups while adjusting for confounding variables including demographics, health-related variables, musical engagement and length of time caring. Results Participants in the choir group showed a significantly greater decrease in anxiety over time than participants in the control group (B=-0.94, SE=0.38, p=0.013) and a significantly greater increase in well-being (B=1.25, SE=0.49, p=0.011). No changes were found for depression. Sub-group analyses showed carers with anxiety or below-Average well-being were most likely to benefit. Conclusions This study builds on previous research showing the mental health benefits of singing for people with cancer by showing that weekly singing can also support anxiety and well-being in cancer carers. 

Access source material through DOI

Coping strategies and psychological distress in family carers of frail older people: A longitudinal study

Background: Carers of dependent older people experience high levels of psychological distress. However, little is known about the effects of coping on carer distress over time. In this one year longitudinal study we investigated the relationship between distress, and coping strategies in a representative sample of family carers living in Spain. Methods: Primary carers of older people were recruited (N = 200). We used probability sampling and collected data via individual interviews from 2013 to 2015. Variables investigated included psychological distress, coping, and levels of objective and subjective burden. Panel data analysis was used to test a model of association of psychological distress, and coping strategies controlling for key confounders. Results: Acceptance and emotional support were the most frequently used strategies, whereas behavioural disengagement and humour were the least used. In the panel data regressions, positive reframing (B = -0.79, p < 0.001), self-distraction (B = -0.46, p = 0.034), substance use (B = 0.57, p < 0.001) and denial (B = 0.57, p = 0,049) were significantly related to psychological distress at one year follow-up. Limitations: Limitations include participant drop out and assessing substance use coping via a brief measure. Conclusions: Positive reframing and self-distraction were longitudinally associated with lower levels of carer psychological distress. Using denial and substance use coping increased distress long-term. Our results suggest that interventions that focus on positive reframing and assisting carers in decreasing dysfunctional coping may be useful therapeutic targets mitigating carer psychological morbidity. 

Access source material through DOI

Optimizing Participation of Older Adults with Cognitive Deficits Post-stroke: Types of Help and Caregiver Burden

This longitudinal mixed-method study examined the types of help provided by caregivers to optimize participation of older adults with cognitive deficits post-stroke (care recipients), and how these types of help varied with caregiver's burden. Twelve family caregivers of care recipients post-stroke completed a burden questionnaire and semi-structured interviews one month, three months, and six months following care recipient's discharge home from acute care, rehabilitation, or day hospital. Care recipients completed cognitive tests and a social participation questionnaire. Types of help caregivers provided differed according to the amount of daily living support, degree of concern for care recipient's well-being, and impact on caregivers' social life. Interestingly, types of help fostering care recipient's social participation, self-esteem, and abilities were unrelated to a negative impact on caregivers' social life. Understanding how different types of help relate to caregiver burden could improve the types of help to optimize care recipients' social participation without overburdening caregivers

Access source material through DOI

Factors associated with long-term impact on informal caregivers during Alzheimer's disease dementia progression: 36-month results from GERAS

Objective: To identify, in caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia, factors associated with subjective (personal, physical, emotional, and social) and objective (informal caregiver time and costs) caregiver burden. Design: Prospective longitudinal European observational study: post-hoc analysis. Setting: Clinic. Participants: Community-dwelling patients in France and Germany aged ≥ 55 years (n = 969) with probable AD and their informal caregivers. Measurements: Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study—Activities of Daily Living (ADCS-ADL), 12-item Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI-12), Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI), informal caregiver basic and instrumental ADL hours (Resource Utilization in Dementia instrument), and informal caregiver costs. Mixed-effect models of repeated measures (MMRM) were run, including baseline and time-dependent covariates (change from baseline [CFB] to 18 months in MMSE, ADCS-ADL, and NPI-12 scores) associated with CFB in ZBI score/informal caregiver time over 36 months (analyzed using linear regression models) and informal caregiver costs over 36 months (analyzed using generalized linear models). Results: Greater decline in patient function (ADCS-ADL) over 18 months was associated with increased subjective caregiver burden (ZBI), hours, and costs over 36 months. Increased behavioral problems (NPI-12) over 18 months also negatively impacted ZBI. Cognitive decline (MMSE) over 18 months did not affect change in caregiver burden. Conclusions: Long-term informal caregiver burden was driven by worsening functional abilities and behavioral symptoms but not cognitive decline, over 18 months in community-dwelling patients with AD dementia. Identifying the drivers of caregiver burden could highlight areas in which interventions may benefit both caregivers and patients.

Access source material through DOI

Gender Differences in Longitudinal Associations Between Intimate Care, Resiliency, and Depression Among Informal Caregivers of Patients Surviving the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit

Background/Objective: Informal caregivers (e.g., family and friends) are at risk for developing depression, which can be detrimental to both caregiver and patient functioning. Initial evidence suggests that resiliency may reduce the risk of depression. However, gender differences in associations between multiple psychosocial resiliency factors and depression have not been examined among neuroscience intensive care unit (neuro-ICU) caregivers. We explored interactions between caregiver gender and baseline resiliency factors on depression symptom severity at baseline through 3 and 6 months post-discharge. Methods: Caregivers (N = 96) of neuro-ICU patients able to provide informed consent to participate in research were enrolled as part of a prospective, longitudinal study in the neuro-ICU of a major academic medical center. Caregiver sociodemographics and resiliency factors (coping, mindfulness, self-efficacy, intimate care, and preparedness for caregiving) were assessed during the patient’s hospitalization (i.e., baseline). Levels of depressive symptoms were measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months post-discharge. Results: Baseline depressive symptoms predicted depressive symptoms at both 3- and 6-month follow-ups, with no difference at any time point in rates of depression by gender. At baseline, greater levels of coping, mindfulness, and preparedness for caregiving were individually associated with lower levels of concurrent depression regardless of gender (ps < 0.006). The main effect of baseline coping remained significant at 3-month follow-up (p = 0.045). We observed a trend-level interaction between gender and baseline intimate care, such that among male caregivers only, high baseline intimate care was associated with lower depression at 3-month follow-up (p = 0.055). At 6-month follow-up, we observed a significant interaction between caregiver gender and baseline intimate care, such that male caregivers reporting high intimate care reported lower symptoms of depression than females reporting high intimate care (p = 0.037). Conclusions: Results support implementation of psychosocial resiliency interventions for caregivers of patients admitted to the neuro-ICU early in the recovery process. Male caregivers may particularly benefit from strategies focused on increasing intimate care (e.g., physical and emotional affection with their loved one) and quality of the patient-caregiver dyadic relationship.

Access source material through DOI

Informal caregiving patterns and trajectories of psychological distress in the UK Household Longitudinal Study

Background: Approximately seven million people in the UK are engaged in informal caregiving. Informal caregivers are at risk of poorer mental and physical health. However, less is known about how the relationship between the informal caregiving and psychological distress changes over time. The aim of this study was to investigate longitudinal associations between the informal caregiving and psychological distress amongst UK men and women aged 16+. Methods: Data were analysed from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS, n = 9368), a nationally representative study of UK households. Longitudinal linear mixed modelling was used to estimate associations between the longitudinal patterns of informal caregiving (non-caregiver/one episode of 1–2 years/intermittent caregiving/3+ years caregiving) and trajectories of psychological distress across seven waves of UKHLS data. Results: Informal caregiving was not associated with psychological distress for men. Women engaged in long-term (⩾3 years) or intermittent caregiving had higher levels of psychological distress at the point of initiation, compared with women who were not caregivers throughout the study period (3+ years caregiver: regression coefficient 0.48, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.07–0.89; intermittent caregiver: regression coefficient 0.47, 95% CI 0.02–0.92). Trajectories of psychological distress changed little over time, suggesting a plateau effect for these caregiving women. Conclusions: Women engaged in long-term or repeated shorter episodes of informal caregiving reported more symptoms of psychological distress than non-caregiving women. Given the increased risk of reporting psychological distress and the increasing importance of the informal care sector, the risk of poorer mental health of informal caregivers should be a priority for public health. 

Access source material through DOI

Unpaid Caregiving Roles and Sleep Among Women Working in Nursing Homes: A Longitudinal Study

Background and Objectives Although sleep is a critical health outcome providing insight into overall health, well-being, and role functioning, little is known about the sleep consequences of simultaneously occupying paid and unpaid caregiving roles. This study investigated the frequency with which women employed in U.S.-based nursing homes entered and exited unpaid caregiving roles for children (double-duty-child caregivers), adults (double-duty-elder caregivers), or both (triple-duty caregivers), as well as examined how combinations of and changes in these caregiving roles related to cross-sectional and longitudinal sleep patterns. Research Design and Methods The sample comprised 1,135 women long-term care employees who participated in the baseline wave of the Work, Family, and Health Study and were assessed at three follow-up time points (6-, 12-, and 18-months). Sleep was assessed with items primarily adapted from the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and wrist actigraphic recordings. Multilevel models with data nested within persons were applied. Results Women long-term care employees entered and exited the unpaid elder caregiving role most frequently. At baseline, double-duty-child and triple-duty caregivers reported shorter sleep quantity and poorer sleep quality than their counterparts without unpaid caregiving roles, or workplace-only caregivers. Double-duty-elder caregivers also reported shorter sleep duration compared to workplace-only caregivers. Over time, double-duty-elder caregiving role entry was associated with negative changes in subjective sleep quantity and quality. Discussion and Implications Simultaneously occupying paid and unpaid caregiving roles has negative implications for subjective sleep characteristics. These results call for further research to advance understanding of double-and-triple-duty caregivers' sleep health and facilitate targeted intervention development. 

Access source material through DOI

Family caregiver-reported outcomes regarding decision-making for left ventricular assist device implantation

Family caregivers (FCGs) often participate in the decision for their loved one to receive a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). Little is known about the contribution of FCGs to this complex decision. To investigate family caregiver-reported outcomes related to decision-making for LVAD implantation and their experiences post-implantation. Descriptive thematic analysis was used to analyze longitudinal data. Thematic saturation was achieved. Three key themes emerged from the data. The main theme in the pre-implantation period was: Not a decision. The two themes in the post-implantation period were: More satisfaction than regret and Unanticipated situational change. Family caregiver-reported outcomes inform clinical practice and future research. FCGs of LVAD recipients did not see viable alternatives to LVAD implantation, were generally satisfied with post-implantation outcomes, and experienced unexpected life changes in the post-implantation period despite feeling prepared preoperatively. Education of both LVAD recipients and their FCGs must be optimized.

Access source material through DOI

Quality of life perceptions of family caregivers of older adults stroke survivors: A longitudinal study

There are few formal outreach and out-patient support services to help family caring for older adults who have had a stroke in developing countries. Family caregivers experience negative changes in their quality of life. To assess quality of life perceptions of spouse and non-spouse caregivers of older adult stroke survivors. A longitudinal survey study. A convenience sample of forty-eight family caregivers was recruited from the Special Care Stroke Unit at a University Hospital in South Brazil. Quality of life was measured using the World Health Organization's Quality of Life BREF survey upon discharge from the hospital (Time 1) and two months after (Time 2). Non-spouse caregivers had the lowest Social Relationship scores at Time 1 (p <.001) and at Time 2 (p =.005), both in terms of personal relationship, the quality of their sex lives and support received from others. Unfortunately, formal community support programs for family caregivers in Brazil are lacking. Post-stroke caregiving is largely a family affair. Quality of Life assessments among family caregivers of older adult stroke survivors are crucial, particularly after discharge.

  • Non-spouse caregivers of older adults stroke survivors have lower quality of life regarding social relationships.
  • QOL among family caregivers should be assessed before and after discharge from a Stroke Care Unit.
  • Our findings provide knowledge of the QOL priorities of family caregivers and recommendations for nurse practitioners.
Access source material through DOI

Determinants of caregiver burden of patients with haemorrhagic stroke in China

Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the caregiver burden over time of patients with haemorrhagic stroke and the determinants of this. Background: Identification of the predictors for caregiver burden can be used to improve the outcomes of stroke survivors and caregivers. Few studies focus on the caregiver burden of patients with haemorrhagic stroke and how this changes over time. Design This was a prospective longitudinal study. Methods: A convenience sample of 202 stroke survivor/caregiver pairs were recruited in the neurosurgery unit from March 2015 to March 2016. The participants were assessed at three different times by face to face or telephone interview. Caregiver burden was assessed using the Bakas Caregiver Outcomes Scale. Sociodemographic data and other characteristics of the pairs were also collected. Multiple linear regression was performed to identify the determinants. Results: Caregiver burden decreased from T1 to T3 significantly. The physical function, depression of stroke survivors, and self‐rated burden of caregivers were the most important determinants for overall caregiver burden. The factors identified explained 41.6% to 67.4% of overall burden. Conclusion: Caregiver burden decreased over time, affected by factors from patients and caregivers. More professional caregivers are needed to support informal carers. 

Access source material through DOI

Informal caregiving and mortality―Who is protected and who is not? A prospective cohort study from Japan

Informal caregiving is linked to psychological stress. However, recent studies have suggested a protective association between informal caregiving and mortality among caregivers. We sought to test the association between caregiving and survival in the Komo-Ise study, a prospective cohort of community-dwelling residents aged 44–77 years living in two areas in Gunma prefecture, Japan. Caregiving status was assessed in 2000, and 8084 individuals were followed for ten years. All-cause mortality was ascertained from official registers. Using multivariate Cox proportional hazards models, we found no statistically significant overall association between informal caregiving and all-cause mortality for either combined sexes, (HR 0.97, 95% CI 0.79, 1.19), men (HR 0.98, 95% CI 0.76, 1.27), or women (HR 0.95, 95% CI 0.68, 1.34). The propensity score matched model also showed no increased risk of all-cause mortality across all caregivers, male caregivers, and female caregivers. The association with all-cause mortality was not observed regardless of the presence of support for activities of daily living (ADLs)/instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) or the relationships to the care recipients. In subgroup analyses, informal caregiving was not associated with increased risk of all-cause death across subgroups for combined sexes, men, or women, except for increased mortality among female caregivers in the lowest-income group (HR 1.75, 95% CI 1.03, 3.00). An increase in the risk of mortality was not observed among male caregivers. In conclusion, informal caregiving did not increase mortality as a whole, nor for most subgroups, while some sub-groups such as women in the lower socioeconomic status groups may be vulnerable to the adverse health effects of caregiving.

Highlights

  • Informal caregiving often places a psychological and physical burden on caregivers.
  • But recent studies report a protective association between caregiving and survival.
  • We test the association between caregiving and survival in a 10 year follow-up study.
  • Overall, informal caregiving was not associated with increased mortality.
  • Increased mortality was observed only in the lowest-income female caregivers.
Access source material through DOI

Longitudinal Outcomes Among Family Caregivers of Power Mobility Users

Objective: To examine the change over 1 year in the burden, wheelchair skills, social support, social participation, and mental health of family caregivers providing assistance to older adult powered wheelchair users.; Design: Longitudinal study.; Setting: Community.; Participants: Participants (N=35) included family caregivers (mean age ± SD=63.7±10.2y) who provided at least 2 hours of general care per week for a powered wheelchair user.; Intervention: Not applicable.; Main Outcome Measures: The Power Mobility Caregiver Assistive Technology Outcome Measure (frequency of care and subjective burden), the Wheelchair Skills Test Questionnaire for caregivers (wheelchair skills), the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List-6 (social support), the Late-Life Function and Disability Instrument (social participation), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (mental health). Measures were taken at baseline, 1, 3, 6, and 12 months. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and a linear mixed model was used to assess changes over time in the outcomes.; Results: The results showed that the caregivers helped on average with 3 powered wheelchair-related activities and 10 other caregiving activities. They also experienced moderate subjective burden and social participation and were within the normal range for depression and anxiety. Moreover, those outcomes remained stable over the 1-year study period. However, the wheelchair skills scores showed significant changes over time, as the scores improved during the first 6 months of the study.; Conclusion: Given that previous research indicated that subjective burden tends to decline over time among caregivers, the findings of stability in this study may reflect increasing needs among this population of caregivers, who may benefit from additional support and interventions. This would need further consideration.

Access source material through DOI

Variations in grief, anxiety, depression, and health among family caregivers before and after the death of a close person in the context of palliative home care

This article investigates longitudinal variations in grief, self-rated health, and symptoms of anxiety and depression among family caregivers in palliative care. Data were taken from a randomized psycho-educational intervention trial and were collected at four time-points; at baseline, upon completion, 2 months later, and 6 months after the patient's death. In total, 117 family caregivers completed all questionnaires. The participants' grief was stable across the measurements, while anxiety, depression, and health varied significantly (p < 0.05). No significant differences were found between the intervention or control group. In conclusion, grief emerged as a constant phenomenon, distinct from symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Access source material through DOI

Interdependence in Health and Functioning Among Older Spousal Caregivers and Care Recipients

Older spousal caregiving relationships involve support that may be affected by the health of either the caregiver or care recipient. We conducted a longitudinal analysis using pooled data from 4,632 community-dwelling spousal care recipients and caregivers aged ⩾50 from the 2002 to 2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. We specified logistic and negative binomial regression models using lagged predictor variables to assess the role of partner health status on spousal caregiver and care recipient health care utilization and physical functioning outcomes. Care recipients' odds of hospitalization, odds ratio (OR): 0.83, p <.001, decreased when caregivers had more ADL difficulties. When spouses were in poorer versus better health, care recipients' bed days decreased (4.69 vs. 2.54) while caregivers' bed days increased (0.20 vs. 0.96). Providers should consider the dual needs of caregivers caring for care recipients and their own health care needs, in adopting a family-centered approach to management of older adult long-term care needs.

Access source material through DOI

The Effectiveness of Psychoeducational Support Groups for Women With Breast Cancer and Their Caregivers: A Mixed Methods Study

Background: Previous studies on the effectiveness of psychological interventions in oncology mainly used quantitative measures and no study was conducted with regard to both caregivers and patients. Aim: This study evaluates the effectiveness of psychoeducational support groups, both for women with breast cancer, and for their informal caregivers through the use of quantitative and qualitative measures. Methods: A longitudinal design was used comparing two psychoeducational support groups with other two groups in a standard care control condition. Participants were 28 women with a diagnosis of breast cancer in the care of a hospital in Northern Italy, and 21 family caregivers. The quantitative data were collected by Cognitive Behavioral Assessment for Outcome Evaluation (CBA-OE) and the qualitative data through the use of semi-structured interviews. Results: The statistical analysis showed a significant change attributable to the psychological intervention that proves the effectiveness of such an intervention in the patients' and caregivers' group. The qualitative analysis allowed us to interpret the behavioral and psychological profile emerging from CBA-OE, by considering the subjective experience of the treatment groups. The group experience offered affective, relational and informative support, and allowed participants to create a network and to feel understood and reassured. Conclusion: The results suggest the usefulness of psychoeducational support groups for women with breast cancer and for their caregivers. The value of this kind of intervention is not only at an individual level but also at a systems level, and family involvement ensures the best positive outcomes.

Access source material through DOI

Post-traumatic stress symptoms in family caregivers of intensive care unit patients: A longitudinal study

Objectives To describe the prevalence and trajectory of family caregivers' post-traumatic stress symptoms during the first year after a patient's admission to the intensive care unit and identify associations between family caregivers' background characteristics, hope and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Research methodology/designs Family caregivers of intensive care unit patients (n = 211) completed questionnaires at patient admission to the intensive care unit and thereafter at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months. Mixed-model analyses were performed. Setting Four intensive care units in a university hospital in Norway. Main outcome measures Impact of Event Scale—Revised and Herth Hope Index. Results On admission, 54% of family caregivers reported high post-traumatic stress symptom levels, which decreased during the first six months after patient discharge. Lower levels of hope, being younger, having more comorbidities and being on sick leave were associated with higher post-traumatic stress symptom levels. Being the parent of the patient was associated with decreased post-traumatic stress symptom levels. Conclusions Family caregivers of intensive care unit patients report high levels of post-traumatic stress symptoms. Higher levels of hope were associated with fewer post-traumatic stress symptoms.

Access source material through DOI

Trajectories of caregiver burden in families of adult cystic fibrosis patients

Objectives: Little is known about the experience of family caregivers of adults with cystic fibrosis (CF). This information is important for the identification of caregivers at risk for burden. Methods: This was a longitudinal analysis of survey data obtained from caregivers of adult CF patients participating in an early intervention palliative care trial. Caregivers completed the validated Brief Assessment Scale for Caregivers (BASC) repeatedly over a 28-month period. Mixed-effects modeling evaluated multivariate associations with positive and negative caregiver perceptions over time. Results: Of the 54 caregivers, 47.9% were spouses. The mean age was 50.9 years (SD = 13.2); 72.2% were women; 75.9% were married; and 63.0% were employed. At baseline, the BASC revealed large variations in positive and negative perceptions of caregiving. Although average scores over time were unchanging, variation was greater across caregivers than within caregivers (0.49 vs. 0.27, respectively). At baseline, the positive impact of caregiving in the sample was higher than the negative impact. Multivariate analysis revealed that patients' baseline pulmonary function and their full-time employment status predicted caregiver burden over time. Significance of results: Caregivers of CF patients varied in their positive and negative caregiving experiences, although burden levels in individual caregivers were stable over time. When the disease was advanced, caregivers of CF patients experienced more overall burden but also more positive impact. This suggests that the role of caregivers may become more meaningful as disease severity worsens. In addition, full-time patient employment was associated with lower caregiver burden regardless of disease severity. This suggests that burden in CF caregivers may be predicted by financial strain or benefits conferred by patient employment. These associations require further investigation to determine whether highly burdened caregivers can be identified and assisted using tailored interventions.

Access source material through DOI

Changes in and modifiable patient‐ and family caregiver‐related factors associated with cancer patients’ high self‐perceived burden to others at the end of life: A longitudinal study

This prospective, longitudinal study explored changes in and modifiable factors associated with high self‐perceived burden to others (SPB) among a convenience sample of 276 dyads of terminally ill Taiwanese cancer patients and their family caregivers over patients’ last year of life. High SPB was evaluated by scores ≥20 on the Self‐Perceived Burden Scale. Modifiable factors of high SPB included factors related to both patients (i.e., symptom distress, functional dependence and coping capacity) and caregivers (i.e., caregiving burden, depressive symptoms and quality of life [QOL]). Modifiable factors of high SPB were identified by multivariate logistic regression modelling with the generalised estimating equation while controlling for demographic factors. We found that patients tended to experience high SPB if they had more symptom distress. In contrast, the likelihood of high SPB was significantly lower if patients had greater coping capacity and their caregivers reported better QOL. High SPB was not associated with patients’ functional dependence, caregivers’ caregiving burden and depressive‐symptom level while providing end‐of‐life (EOL) care, and time proximity to death. Healthcare professionals may alleviate terminally ill cancer patients’ high SPB at EOL through palliative care that adequately manages patients’ physical symptom distress, enhances patients’ coping capacity and improves family caregivers’ QOL.

Access source material through DOI

Parental health limitations, caregiving and loneliness among women with widowed parents: longitudinal evidence from France

We investigate how daughters’ feelings of loneliness are impacted when widowed parents develop health limitations, and when daughters take on personal care tasks in response. Using longitudinal data from daughters of widowed parents drawn from the French Family and Intergenerational Relationships Study (ERFI, 1485 observations nested in 557 daughters), we assess (a) whether health limitations of widowed parents are associated with daughters’ feelings of loneliness regardless of whether or not daughters provide personal care and (b) whether there is an effect of care provision on loneliness that cannot be explained by parental health limitations. Fixed effect regression analyses show that widowed parents’ health limitations were associated with raised feelings of loneliness among their daughters. No significant additional effect of providing personal care to a widowed parent was found. Prior research on the impact of health limitations of older parents on the lives of their adult-children has focused mostly on issues related to informal caregiving. Our findings suggest that more attention to the psychosocial impact of parental health limitations—net of actual caregiving—on adult children’s lives is warranted.

Access source material through DOI

Outcomes of an electronic social network intervention with neuro-oncology patient family caregivers

Introduction: Informal family caregivers (FCG) are an integral and crucial human component in the cancer care continuum. However, research and interventions to help alleviate documented anxiety and burden on this group is lacking. To address the absence of effective interventions, we developed the electronic Support Network Assessment Program (eSNAP) which aims to automate the capture and visualization of social support, an important target for overall FCG support. This study seeks to describe the preliminary efficacy and outcomes of the eSNAP intervention.; Methods: Forty FCGs were enrolled into a longitudinal, two-group randomized design to compare the eSNAP intervention in caregivers of patients with primary brain tumors against controls who did not receive the intervention. Participants were followed for six weeks with questionnaires to assess demographics, caregiver burden, anxiety, depression, and social support. Questionnaires given at baseline (T1) and then 3-weeks (T2), and 6-weeks (T3) post baseline questionnaire.; Results: FCGs reported high caregiver burden and distress at baseline, with burden remaining stable over the course of the study. The intervention group was significantly less depressed, but anxiety remained stable across groups.; Conclusions: With the lessons learned and feedback obtained from FCGs, this study is the first step to developing an effective social support intervention to support FCGs and healthcare providers in improving cancer care.;

Access source material through DOI

Changes in caregiving appraisal among family caregivers of persons with dementia: A longitudinal study over 12 months

Aim: The main purpose of this study was to identify changes in both caregiver burden and positive caregiving appraisal over time, as well as factors affecting these variables. Methods: This analysis included 41 in‐home family caregivers who had completed questionnaires at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months. We assessed various caregiver and care recipient characteristics, caregivers' positive appraisal of caregiving, caregiver burden, desire to continue caregiving, severity of care recipients' cognitive impairment, and behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. Results: We observed no significant differences in caregiver burden, positive caregiving appraisal, or behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia across the three measurement times. However, we did find differences in the desire to continue caregiving and in the personal strain and role strain dimensions of caregiver burden. Conclusion: Overall, our study suggests that caregiving service providers should consider support that focuses on improving the subjective caregiving appraisals of caregivers.

Access source material through DOI

The influence of the individual neuropsychiatric symptoms of people with Alzheimer disease on family caregiver distress-A longitudinal ALSOVA study

<bold>Objectives: </bold>Family caregivers (FCs) face a variety of demands while caring for persons with Alzheimer disease (AD). Longitudinal studies identifying the specific AD-related neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) that contribute to FC distress are rare. We analyzed which NPS in association with care recipient and caregiver demographic factors are associated with FC psychological distress over a 36-month follow-up period.<bold>Design: </bold>This is a longitudinal study with annual follow-up. Participants were people with AD (n = 226) and their FCs (n = 226).<bold>Measurements: </bold>The Neuropsychiatric Inventory was used to assess NPS, and The General Health Questionnaire was used as a measure of caregiver distress. The effect of NPS on FC psychological distress over time was analyzed using a linear-mixed effect model.<bold>Results: </bold>Delusions (P = .003), agitation (P < .001), and sleep disturbance (P = .005) are associated with FC psychological distress. One of four people with AD developed delusions and agitation during the early stages of the disease. Sleep disturbances increased over the follow-up time. A marital relationship was associated with FC distress, while some prevalent symptoms, such as depression, did not affect distress.<bold>Conclusions: </bold>Delusions, agitation, and sleep disturbances may cause distress to the FCs of persons with AD, especially if they live together. Clinicians should meet with FCs regularly and recognize those FCs at risk for a decline in psychosocial health. 

Access source material through DOI

Informal caregiving and personality: Results of a population-based longitudinal study in Germany

Background: The aim of this study was to identify whether informal caregiving time is associated with personality factors longitudinally. Methods: Longitudinal data were gathered from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), a large nationally representative, longitudinal study of German households beginning in 1984. Focusing on the association between informal caregiving and personality factors, data were used from the years 2005, 2009 and 2013. The GSOEP Big Five Inventory was used to assess personality factors. Informal caregiving hours were used as explanatory variable. The explanatory variable informal caregiving hours was categorized into 0 hours (reference), 1 hours, 2 hours, 3 hours, 4 hours, and 5 hours and more. Age, marital status, educational level, employment status, income, self-rated health and disability were included as potential confounders in regression analysis. Results: Adjusting for potential confounders, fixed effects regressions showed that whether or not someone provides informal care is markedly associated with changes in neuroticism. Given that an individual provides informal care, the actual number of care hours did not matter in most cases. Informal caregiving was not associated with openness to experience, extraversion and agreeableness. As regards conscientiousness, only ‘5 hours and more’ on a typical Sunday was associated with an increase in conscientiousness (β = .32, p < .05). Informal caregiving on a typical weekday or Saturday was not associated with changes in conscientiousness. Conclusion: Our findings stress the longitudinal association between informal caregiving and neuroticism.

Access source material through DOI

Intergenerational Caregivers of Parents With End-Stage Heart Failure

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to longitudinally explore the experiences of young adult, adult, and older adult intergenerational caregivers caring for a parent with end-stage heart failure (HF). Design: This study was a secondary analysis of qualitative data collected during a longitudinal study that sought to determine the palliative care needs of individuals with end-stage HF and their family caregivers. Methods: Longitudinal interviews from 23 young adult, adult, and older adult children who were caring for a parent with end-stage HF were selected for thematic analysis. Researchers individually analyzed the interviews and then, as a group, came to a consensus about themes. Findings: Five major themes were identified: caregiver resources, role management, caregiver–parent relationships, filial responsibility , and personal benefits and challenges. Conclusions: These intergenerational caregivers struggled to balance their busy lives and caregiving roles. However, most felt supported by other family members or external resources. Longitudinal findings support a need for improved employer-based support for intergenerational caregivers and special attention to young carers in research and practice. Recognition of and advocacy for intergenerational caregivers providing care for a chronically ill parent is needed.

Access source material through DOI

Gender Differences in Spousal Caregivers’ Care and Housework: Fact or Fiction?

Many studies reveal a gender gap in spousal care during late life. However, this gap could be an artifact of methodological limitations (small and unrepresentative cross-sectional samples). Using a data set that overcomes these limitations, we re-examine the question of gender differences in spousal care and housework adjustment when a serious illness occurs.We use biannual waves between 2001 and 2015 of the German Socio-Economic Panel Study and growth curve analyses. We follow couples longitudinally (identified in the household questionnaire) to analyze shifts in spousal care hours and housework plus errand hours that occur as a response to the spousal care need. We test for interactions with levels of care need and with gender.We found that men increase their care hours as much as women do, resulting in similar care hours. They also increase their housework and errand hours more than women do. Yet at lower levels of spousal care need, women still do more housework and errands because they spent more time doing housework before the illness. Even in a context of children’s decreasing availability to care for parents, male spouses assume the required caregiving role in systems relying on a mixture of public and private care.

Access source material through DOI

Informal caregiving and markers of adiposity in the UK Household Longitudinal Study

OBJECTIVES: The aim was to investigate associations between caregiving and adiposity using a representative UK longitudinal study. We also investigated whether associations differed by age, gender and caregiving characteristics. METHODS: Data on 9,421 participants aged 16+ from three waves (2009-2012) of the UK Household Longitudinal Study were used. Body mass index, waist circumference and percentage body fat were assessed. Caregiving and caregiving characteristics (hours per week, number of people cared for, co-resident caregiving and combining working and caregiving) was available from the prior wave. Gender-stratified associations between caregiving/caregiving characteristics with adiposity were tested. Covariates included caregiver's health, socioeconomic position, parenthood and partnerships. RESULTS: Caregiving was associated with higher adiposity for women but not men. Younger women caregivers had particularly higher levels of adiposity. Men combining part-time paid work with caregiving had higher levels of adiposity than men working full-time and not caregiving. Women aged 16-44 or 65+ had particularly high levels of adiposity when combining full-time work and caregiving, compared to full-time work alone. CONCLUSION: The health of caregivers should be a public health priority, particularly for younger women and those combining paid work with caregiving responsibilities. 

Access source material through DOI

The impact of volunteering on the volunteer: findings from a peer support programme for family carers of people with dementia

With an ageing population, there are increasing numbers of experienced family carers (FCs) who could provide peer support to newer carers in a similar care situation. The aims of this paper are to: (i) use a cross-sectional study design to compare characteristics of volunteers and recipients of a peer support programme for FCs of people with dementia, in terms of demographic background, social networks and psychological well-being; and (ii) use a longitudinal study design to explore the overall impact of the programme on the volunteers in terms of psychological well-being. Data were collected from programmes run in Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Berkshire and four London boroughs between October 2009 and March 2013. The volunteer role entailed empathic listening and encouragement over a 10-month period. Both carer support volunteers (N = 87) and recipient FCs (N = 109) provided baseline demographic information. Data on social networks, personal growth, self-efficacy, service use and well-being (SF-12; EuroQol Visual Analogue Scale; Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; Control, Autonomy, Self-Realisation, Pleasure-19) were collected prior to the start of the intervention (N = 43) and at either 3- to 5 month or 10 month follow-up (N = 21). Volunteers were more likely than recipients of support to be female and to have cared for a parent/grandparent rather than spouse. Volunteers were also more psychologically well than support recipients in terms of personal growth, depression and perceived well-being. The longitudinal analysis identified small but significant declines in personal growth and autonomy and a positive correlation between the volunteers' duration of involvement and perceived well-being. These findings suggest that carers who volunteer for emotional support roles are resilient and are at little psychological risk from volunteering. 

Access source material through DOI

Caregivers for people at end of life in advanced age: knowing, doing and negotiating care

Background: the need for palliative and end of life care for the oldest old is growing rapidly. Family carers often report they do not feel well supported; for better practice and policy, we need better understanding of their experiences and how to support them. Design and setting: people in the LiLACS NZ longitudinal study of advanced age identified a carer to be interviewed after their death. Nominated caregivers were contacted 3–6 months after an older person’s death and invited to take part in the current study. Subjects: fifty-eight interviews were conducted with carers of 52 people in advanced age, 20 Maori and 32 non-Maori. The majority of the 58 carers were in their 60 s and were women. Methods: guided-conversation interviews covered end of life preferences and experiences, needs and gaps in support, arrangements after death, and experiences of bereavement. Rigorous data analysis included multiple researchers identifying and interrogating themes across and within: the transcripts, and feedback and discussion with participants. Results: we identify a typology of nine categories of care, and argue that the support and care provided by family should be understood as going beyond simple task-based transactions. We present a model of end of life care describing and explaining inter-related aspects of knowing, doing and negotiating care tasks. Conclusions: this work furthers current understandings of care, as multifaceted and negotiated. This has very practical implications for thinking about how best to support the complex end of life caregiving work of people caring for a person in advanced age.

Access source material through DOI

Issues with the measurement of informal care in social surveys: evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Informal care plays a significant role in the care system for older people in the United Kingdom, and this is projected to increase considerably in the next three decades as the population ages. Understanding these trends requires a good quality measurement of informal care. In this study, the authors compare care-givers’ responses to different informal care questions from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) to investigate the influence of question design on the self-reporting of informal care. They also analyse spousal care dyads in order to model discrepancies in the reporting of care provision between spouses to provide an insight into the reliability of informal care measurements. The authors find that the most common measures used are likely to be under-estimating both the scale and scope of informal care, and they recommend careful consideration of the content of informal care survey questions in order to operationalise the measures of informal care activities.

Access source material through DOI

‘Replacement care’ for working carers? a longitudinal study in England, 2013–15

In the context of rising need for long‐term care, reconciling unpaid care and carers’ employment is becoming an important social issue. In England, there is increasing policy emphasis on paid services for the person cared for, sometimes known as ‘replacement care’, to support working carers. Previous research has found an association between ‘replacement care’ and carers’ employment. However, more information is needed on potential causal connections between services and carers’ employment. This mixed methods study draws on new longitudinal data to examine service receipt and carers’ employment in England. Data were collected from carers who were employed in the public sector, using self‐completion questionnaires in 2013 and 2015, and qualitative interviews were conducted with a sub‐sample of respondents to the 2015 questionnaire. Findings: where the person cared for did not receive at least one ‘key service’ (home care, personal assistant, day care, meals, short‐term breaks), the carer was subsequently more likely to leave employment because of caring, suggesting that the absence of services contributed to the carer leaving work. In the interviews, carers identified specific ways in which services helped them to remain in employment. The authors conclude that, if a policy objective is to reduce the number of carers leaving employment because of caring, there needs to be greater access to publicly‐funded services for disabled and older people who are looked after by unpaid carers.

Access source material through DOI

Caregiver determinants of patient clinical event risk in heart failure

Background: Preventing hospitalization and improving event-free survival are primary goals of heart failure (HF) treatment according to current European Society of Cardiology guidelines; however, substantial uncertainty remains in our ability to predict risk and improve outcomes. Although caregivers often assist patients to manage their HF, little is known about their influence on clinical outcomes. Aims: To quantify the influence of patient and caregiver characteristics on patient clinical event risk in HF. Methods: This was a secondary analysis of data using a sample of Italian adults with HF and their informal caregivers (n = 183 patient–caregiver dyads). HF patients were followed over 12 months for the following clinical events: hospitalization for HF, emergency room visit for HF or all-cause mortality. Influence of baseline caregiver- and patient-level factors (patient and caregiver age; dyad relationship type; patient New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class, cognition, and comorbidities; and caregiver strain, mental health status, and contributions to HF self-care) on patient risk of death or hospitalization/emergency room use was quantified using Cox proportional hazards regression. Results: Over the course of follow up, 32.8% of patients died, 19.7% were hospitalized for HF and 10.4% visited the emergency room. Higher caregiver strain, better caregiver mental health status and greater caregiver contributions to HF self-care maintenance were associated with significantly better event-free survival. Worse patient functional class and greater caregiver contributions to patient self-care management were associated with significantly worse patient event-free survival. Conclusion: Considering caregiving factors together with patient factors significantly increases our understanding of patient clinical event risk in HF.

Access source material through DOI

Health effects of informal caring in New Zealand: longitudinal findings from the Health, Work and Retirement study

This study investigates changes in the mental and physical health of carers compared to non-carers over 10 years in a sample of New Zealanders aged 54–70. Mental health increased slightly over time for all participants but there was no difference in trajectory change based on carer status except for those who stopped caring. No significant differences in physical health or differences in trajectory change for physical health across time based on caregiver status were found. Results provide some support for a health selection bias into caring and the adaptation hypothesis of caring across time.

Access source material through DOI

Trajectories of caregiver burden and related factors in family caregivers of patients with lung cancer

Objective This study aimed to (1) identify the changes of 5 domains of family caregiver (FC) burden, overall burden, and its subtrajectories when caring for newly diagnosed advanced lung cancer patients during the first 6 months following cancer diagnosis; and (2) identify the FC‐related and patient‐related factors most associated with the overall FC burden and each of its subtrajectories. Methods A total of 150 newly diagnosed advanced lung cancer patient‐FC dyads were recruited from a Taiwanese medical center. The overall FC burden was evaluated 4 times: before treatment, and 1, 3, and 6 months after treatment. The potential subtrajectory of the caregiver burden was investigated by latent class growth analysis. The FC‐related and patient‐related factors having the greatest effect on the overall FC burden and its subtrajectories over time were identified by generalized estimating equations. Results The highest level of burden domain was “Impact on daily schedule” over time. Generally, most of the FC reported a moderate level of overall burden over the investigation period. Three subtrajectories of the overall FC burden over time (% caregivers) were identified: high burden (34.7%), moderate burden (56.0%), and low burden (9.3%), respectively. The self‐efficacy of FC was the strongest factor related to the changes of the FC's burden and burden in each subtrajectory. Conclusion The results support the existing and different types of subtrajectories of the FC's burden. Health care professionals should provide care based on those differences. Further research to test interventions which integrate those important factors related to FC's burden, particularly FC's self‐efficacy, is strongly suggested.

Access source material through DOI

Patterns of carer distress over time in mild dementia

Objective To study the level of carer reported distress in mild dementia, over a 3‐year period. Methods This study is part of the Norwegian DemVest‐study and utilises data from carers of people with mild dementia (n = 223). Those diagnosed with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB, n = 63) and Alzheimer's disease (AD, n = 97) were included together with other dementia types (n = 63). The Relatives' Stress Scale was used to assess the level of reported distress in carers. Descriptive and a linear mixed effects models including diagnosis, time, and the interaction between time and diagnosis were performed. Results Carer distress in mild dementia increased significantly over time (P = 0.011), particularly from baseline until 2 (P = 0.001) years follow‐up. Carer distress in people caring for those with AD increased significantly, from baseline until 2 (P = 0.047) and 3 (P = 0.019) years follow‐up. Distress in carers of people with DLB was high at baseline and remained relatively stable across the 3‐year period. However, admission to a nursing home during the first year of follow‐up was associated with a significantly lower reported carer distress in those caring for a person with DLB (P = 0.002), compared with those caring for a person with DLB living at home. Conclusion Being a carer to a person with mild dementia is associated with increasing distress. However, the burden of distress changes with the diagnosis, time, and situation, which highlights the dynamic nature of the caring role. Findings have important implications for health services for people diagnosed with mild dementia and their carers.

Access source material through DOI

Quality of life, anxiety, depression and burden among stroke caregivers: A longitudinal, observational multicentre study

Aim To longitudinally describe stroke caregivers’ quality of life, anxiety, depression and burden and to identify predictors of stroke caregivers’ quality of life, anxiety, depression and burden. Background Caregivers have a key role in stroke survivor care and the first year of caregiving is the most challenging. To give tailored interventions, it is important to capture changes and identify predictors of caregiver quality of life, anxiety, depression and burden during the first year. Design A 12‐month longitudinal study. Data were collected between June 2013–May 2016. Methods Changes in stroke caregiver quality of life, anxiety and depression and burden and their predictors were identified using linear mixed‐effects models. Results The caregivers (N = 244) were 53 years old and mostly female. Caregiver quality of life did not change significantly over the 12 months, anxiety and depression decreased up to 9 months and caregiver burden decreased from baseline to 3 months, then increased up to 9 months. Higher caregiver quality of life was predicted by caregiver younger age, higher education, living with a stroke survivor, survivor older age and higher physical functioning; higher anxiety and depression were predicted by older caregiver age and younger survivor age; higher burden was predicted by caregiver male gender, the caregiver not living with survivor and survivor lower physical functioning. Conclusion The first 9 months of caregiving are particularly problematic for caregivers. The trajectories of the above variables and their predictors may be useful for policy makers, clinicians, investigators and educators to give better care to stroke caregivers and their survivors.

Access source material through DOI

Recovery for Carers of People with Psychosis: A Longitudinal Population-Based Study with Implications for Social Work

This longitudinal study using the sampling frame of the second Australian prevalence study of psychosis aimed to identify predictors of the health and well-being of care-givers of people with psychosis and inform social work recovery-oriented practice. Ninety-eight carers were recruited at baseline and seventy-eight re-interviewed after one year. Correlational and regression analyses were conducted to identify relationships between carer and service user-related factors and predictors of carers’ health and well-being over time. Carers’ poor health and well-being were predicted by a combination of specific service user-related characteristics and care-giving factors. Carers’ assessment of the functioning of their relative/friend with psychosis at baseline had stronger relationships with their own health and well-being at follow-up than other factors. Carers’ care-giving burden was predicted by their educational levels and their relative/friend’s cognitive levels over time. To achieve improved health and well-being for carers, services need to consider potential deterioration of carers’ physical health over time, to facilitate appropriate referral of carers with physical health problems and provide psycho-social rehabilitation services to improve the functioning of people with psychosis. Findings provide some evidence to support social work recovery-oriented practice in working with people with psychosis and the routine inclusion of carers in such interventions.

Access source material through DOI

Trajectories of positive aspects of caregiving among family caregivers of stroke-survivors: the differential impact of stroke-survivor disability

Objective To delineate positive aspects of caregiving trajectories among family caregivers of stroke-survivors and determine the impact of stroke-survivor disability, a time-varying factor, on the delineated trajectories. Methods In a longitudinal study, family caregivers of 173 stroke-survivors in Singapore were administered the Positive Aspects of Caregiving scale (PAC scale) thrice (baseline/3 months/6 months). Group-based trajectory modeling delineated positive aspects of caregiving trajectories and identified the impact of stroke-survivor disability on the trajectories. Results Two distinct positive aspects of caregiving trajectories, Persistently Low and Persistently High were delineated. Increase in stroke-survivor disability was associated with a significant downward shift (reduction in positive aspects of caregiving) of the Persistently Low trajectory and a significant upward shift (increase in positive aspects of caregiving) of the Persistently High trajectory. Older caregivers were more likely to follow the Persistently High trajectory. Conclusions Care professionals should be mindful of the heterogeneity in the longitudinal pattern of positive feelings resulting from care provision among family caregivers of stroke-survivors, and the differential impact of stroke-survivor disability on the pattern of positive feelings. Younger caregivers as well as family caregivers who have low positive feelings at the start of their caregiver journey and experience worsening functional disability of their care recipient (stroke-survivor) require greater attention and support.

Access source material through DOI

Does informal caregiving affect self‐esteem? Results from a population‐based study of individuals aged 40 and over in Germany from 2002 to 2014

Background While it is known that informal caregiving is associated with care‐derived self‐esteem cross‐sectionally, little is known about the impact of informal caregiving on general self‐esteem longitudinally. Thus, we aimed at examining whether informal caregiving affects general self‐esteem using a longitudinal approach. Methods Data were gathered from a population‐based sample of community‐dwelling individuals aged 40 and over in Germany from 2002 to 2014 (n = 21 271). General self‐esteem was quantified using the Rosenberg scale. Individuals were asked whether they provide informal care regularly. Results Fixed effects regressions showed no significant effect of informal caregiving on general self‐esteem longitudinally. General self‐esteem decreased with increasing morbidity, increasing age, decreasing social ties, whereas it was not associated with changes in employment status, marital status and body mass index. Additional models showed that decreases in self‐esteem were associated with decreases in functional health and increases in depressive symptoms. Conclusion Our longitudinal study emphasises that the occurrence of informal caregiving did not affect general self‐esteem longitudinally. Further research is needed in other cultural settings using panel data methods.

Access source material through DOI

Needs of informal caregivers across the caregiving course in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a qualitative analysis

Objectives Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neuron disease (MND), is a debilitating terminal condition. Informal caregivers are key figures in ALS care provision. The physical, psychological and emotional impact of providing care in the home requires appropriate assistance and support. The objective of this analysis is to explore the needs of informal ALS caregivers across the caregiving course. Design In an open-ended question as part of a semistructured interview, caregivers were asked what would help them in their role. Interviews took place on three occasions at 4-month to 6-month intervals. Demographic, burden and quality of life data were collected, in addition to the open-ended responses. We carried out descriptive statistical analysis and thematic analysis of qualitative data. Setting and participants Home interviews at baseline (n=81) and on two further occasions (n=56, n=41) with informal caregivers of people with ALS attending the National ALS/MND Clinic at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. Results The majority of caregivers were family members. Hours of care provided and caregiver burden increased across the interview series. Thematic analysis identified what would help them in their role, and needs related to external support and services, psychological-emotional factors, patient-related behaviours, a cure and ‘nothing’. Themes were interconnected and their prevalence varied across the interview time points. Conclusion This study has shown the consistency and adaptation in what caregivers identified as helpful in their role, across 12–18 months of a caregiving journey. Support needs are clearly defined, and change with time and the course of caregiving. Caregivers need support from family, friends and healthcare professionals in managing their tasks and the emotional demands of caregiving. Identifying the specific needs of informal caregivers should enable health professionals to provide tailored supportive interventions.

Access source material through DOI

A randomized controlled trial of a home-based training programme to decrease depression in family caregivers of persons with dementia

Aims. The aim of this study was to explore distinct trajectories of caregivers' depressive symptoms and the effects of a training programme on these trajectories over 18 months after the programme. Background. Overall effects of caregiver-training programmes on family caregivers' depressive symptoms have been reported, but few studies explored distinct courses of changes in caregivers' depressive symptoms and followed up intervention effects on these distinct courses. Design. Randomized clinical trial. Methods. Family caregivers (n = 116) were randomly assigned into experimental (n = 57) and control (n = 59) groups. The experimental group received the training programme with telephone consultation and the control group received written educational materials and social telephone follow-ups. Caregivers' depressive symptoms were assessed from June 2009 - March 2012 by selfcompleted questionnaires before, at 2 weeks and 3, 6, 12 and 18 months after the intervention. Groups of individual trajectories were distinguished using groupbased trajectory modelling. Results. Caregivers' depressive symptoms fell into three stable trajectories: nondepressed, mildly blue and depressed. After controlling for covariates, caregivers who received the caregiver-training programme were less likely than those who did not experience persistent depressive symptoms (b = -1.92, odds ratio = 0.15, P < 0.05). Conclusion. Depressive symptoms of family caregivers of persons with dementia were relatively stable and followed three distinct courses: non-depressed, mildly blue and depressed. Therefore, caregivers' depressive symptoms should be assessed as early as possible. Caregivers in the experimental group had a lower probability of persistent depressive symptoms than caregivers in the control group. Therefore, this training programme can be used by healthcare providers for persons with dementia and their caregivers. Trial registration number: NCT02667951. References

Access source material through DOI

Distress and psychological morbidity do not reduce over time in carers of patients with high-grade glioma

Purpose: This study aimed to determine how carer distress and psychological morbidity change over time following a patient’s diagnosis of high-grade glioma (HGG) and identify factors associated with changes in carers’ psychological status. Methods: Carers of patients with HGG planned for chemoradiotherapy were recruited to this longitudinal cohort study. Carers completed questionnaires during patients’ chemoradiotherapy and 3 and 6 months later including the following: the Distress Thermometer (DT); General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12); and three single-item questions about understanding of information presented by health professionals, confidence to care and preparedness to care for their relative/friend. Linear latent growth models were applied. Results: The time 1 questionnaire was completed by 118 carers, of these 70 carers provided responses to the third time point. Carer distress and psychological morbidity were most prominent proximal to diagnosis, but remained high over time. Sixty-two percent of participants had moderate or high distress on the DT at time 1, 61% at time 2 and 58% at time 3. Scores on the DT and the GHQ-12 correlated significantly at all time points as did changes in scores over time (p < .001). However, for individual carers, the DT or GHQ-12 scores at one time point did not strongly predict scores at subsequent time points. Conclusion: In carers of patients with HGG, distress levels are consistently high and cannot be predicted at any time point. Carers should be monitored over time to identify evolving psychological morbidity. The single-item DT correlates highly with GHQ-12 scores and is a suitable tool for rapid repeated screening.

Access source material through DOI

Care-related Quality of Life of informal caregivers of the elderly after a hip fracture

Background: Reforms in the Dutch healthcare system in combination with the aging of the population will lead to a strong increase in the demand for informal care in the Netherlands. A hip fracture is one of the most important causes of hospital admissions among frail elderly and informal caregivers experience stress that may have significantly negative impact on the caregivers’ Quality of Life. The purpose of the study was to determine the nature, intensity and the care-related Quality of Life (CarerQoL) of informal caregivers of elderly patients in the first six months after a hip fracture. In this cross-sectional study, were interviewed the primary informal caregivers of patients with a hip fracture about the informal care provided after one, three or six months following the injury. The CarerQoL of the informal caregivers was measured with the CarerQoL-7D instrument. Results: In total, 123 primary informal caregivers were included. The CarerQoL-7D score was on average 83.7 (SD 15.0) after one, three and six months, and there were no major differences between the measurement time points. The average amount of informal care provided per patient per week was 39.5 during the first six months. Partners of patients with a hip fracture provided significantly more hours of informal care (β 34.0; 95% CI: 20.9 – 47.1). Female informal caregivers stated a significantly lower level of CarerQoL (β -7.8; 95% CI: -13.3 – -2.3). Female caregivers were 3.0 times more likely to experience relational problems (aOR 3.02; 95% CI 1.08-8.43). Caregivers provided care at 6 months were associated with physical health problems (aOR 2.54; 95% CI 1.05-6.14). Conclusions: Informal caregivers, especially partners, are faced with providing care of greater intensity to elderly patients during the first six months after a hip fracture. The CarerQoL was not associated with the intensity of the provided informal care. However, this study shows that a considerable group of informal caregivers for elderly patients with a hip fracture experienced relational, physical and mental health problems that stemmed from providing intensive informal care during the first six months.

Access source material through DOI

Long-term effects of a dyadic psycho-educational intervention on caregiver burden and morbidity in partners of patients with heart failure: a randomized controlled trial

Background: Partners of patients with heart failure provide both practical and emotional support. Many partners assume caregiving responsibilities without being aware of the burden related with this role. Objective: Our work has established that a psycho-educational intervention has benefits at 3, but not at 12 months for patients with heart failure. Further we had not described the long-term effects in caregivers. This study aimed to determine the 24-months effects of a dyadic psycho-educational intervention on caregiver burden and morbidity in partners of patients with heart failure and study factors associated with a change in caregiver burden. Design: A randomized controlled study design, with a follow-up assessment after 24 months. Setting and participants: Partners to patients with heart failure were recruited from two hospitals in the southeast of Sweden. Intervention: A three session nurse-led psycho-educational program was tested and included psychosocial support to maintain the partners’ physical and mental functions, and perceived control. Several instrument were used to measure caregiver burden, perceived control, physical and mental health, depression and morbidity. Results: One hundred fifty-five partners were included. There were no significant differences in any index of caregiver burden or morbidity among the partners in the intervention and control groups after 24 months. Overall, the mean total caregiver burden was found to be significantly increased compared to baseline (36 ± 12 vs 38 ± 14, p < 0.05). A younger partner, less comorbidity, higher levels of perceived control, better physical health and less symptoms of depression in patients, and better mental health in the partners were factors associated with absence of increased caregiver burden over time. Discussion and conclusion: Our intervention did not significantly decrease caregiver burden or morbidity. Over time, several aspects of burden increased in both groups. To improve outcomes, individualized and targeted interventions might be beneficial. Registered on ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT02398799.

Access source material through DOI

Exposing the Backstage: Critical Reflections on a Longitudinal Qualitative Study of Residents' Care Networks in Assisted Living

In this article, we analyze the research experiences associated with a longitudinal qualitative study of residents’ care networks in assisted living. Using data from researcher meetings, field notes, and memos, we critically examine our design and decision making and accompanying methodological implications. We focus on one complete wave of data collection involving 28 residents and 114 care network members in four diverse settings followed for 2 years. We identify study features that make our research innovative, but that also represent significant challenges. They include the focus and topic; settings and participants; scope and design complexity; nature, modes, frequency, and duration of data collection; and analytic approach. Each feature has methodological implications, including benefits and challenges pertaining to recruitment, retention, data collection, quality, and management, research team work, researcher roles, ethics, and dissemination. Our analysis demonstrates the value of our approach and of reflecting on and sharing methodological processes for cumulative knowledge building.

Access source material through DOI

Health effects of informal caregiving across Europe: A longitudinal approach

Due to an expected increase of people in need of care, sound knowledge about health effects of informal care provision is becoming more and more important. Theoretically, there might be positive as well as negative health effects due to caregiving to relatives. Moreover, we suppose that such health effects differ by national context – since care is differently organized in Europe – and depend on the social setting in which the care relationship takes place. Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement (SHARE, waves 1, 2, 3, and 5) and from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA, waves 2–5) we examined the connection between informal caregiving and self-perceived as well as mental health in a country comparative perspective. Taking advantage of the longitudinal structure of the data, pooled ordinary least squares (OLS) and fixed-effects models (FEM) were estimated. Our results show distinct differences in the relationship between reported health and the provision of informal care depending on whether individuals give care to someone inside or outside the household. Caregivers inside the household reported worse health, caregivers from outside the household reported better health than non-caregivers. We find that this correlation is largely due to selection into caregiving: people in worse health took up care inside while people in better health took up care outside the household. However, in most countries people who started caregiving inside the household experienced a decline in their mental health. This suggests that caregiving inside the household results in psychological stress irrespective of the type of welfare state. The results regarding self-perceived health and caregiving outside the household are less distinct. All in all our results show that health consequences of caregiving vary not only between different welfare regimes but also between countries of similar welfare state types.

  • We examine informal caregivers' health across Europe using longitudinal methods.
  • Different caregiving settings are studied in a country comparison.
  • Health consequences differ between caregiving inside and outside the household.
  • Health effects of caregiving vary between and within different welfare state types.
Access source material through DOI

Living With Hepatocellular Carcinoma Near the End of Life: Family Caregivers' Perspectives

Purpose/Objectives: To explore family caregivers’ perspectives of caring for patients with terminal hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) as patients approached the end of life. Research Approach: Longitudinal, qualitative descriptive design. Setting: Oregon Health and Science University in Portland and Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System in Oregon. Participants: 13 family caregivers with a mean age of 56 years (range = 22–68 years). The majority of family caregivers were female (n = 10) and identified as White (n = 11). Methodologic Approach: Interview data were collected from family caregivers once a month for as many as six months, for a total of 39 interviews. Data were analyzed using conventional content analysis. Findings: Five core categories and nine subcategories were identified. From the time of the terminal diagnosis to the end of life, family caregivers felt unprepared, uncertain, and in need of information. They struggled with whether symptoms were HCC- or cirrhosis-related. Interpretation: Nurses can support family caregivers by eliciting their knowledge and concerns, and attending to symptom presentation and interpretation and to treatment challenges. Understanding challenges caregivers experience is crucial for developing interventions that address their desire for information, support, and help along the HCC disease trajectory. Implications for Nursing: Nurses play a critical role in preparing caregivers to understand the importance of pain assessment and management and early referral to palliative care.

Access source material through DOI

A longitudinal view of factors that influence the emotional well-being of family caregivers to individuals with heart failure

Objectives: Caring for community-residing patients with heart failure can affect caregivers’ emotional wellbeing. However, few studies have examined caregivers’ well-being longitudinally, or identified factors associated with positive and negative outcomes. The objective of this longitudinal cohort study was to examine changes in caregivers’ well-being over time, and to identify patient and caregiver factors associated with positive and negative outcomes. Method: Fifty caregiver/heart failure patient dyads were recruited from an acute care facility and followed in the community. All participants completed surveys at hospital admission and 3, 6 and 12 months later. Caregivers completed assessments of depression symptoms and positive affect and standardized measures to capture assistance provided, mastery, personal gain, social support, participation restriction, and patients’ behavioral and psychological symptoms. From patients, we collected demographic characteristics and health-related quality of life. Individual Growth Curve modelling was used to analyze the data. Results: Caregivers’ negative and positive emotions remained stable over time. Depression symptoms were associated with higher participation restriction in caregivers. Positive affect was associated with more personal gain and more social support. Patients’ health-related quality of life and their behavioral and psychological symptoms were not significantly associated with caregivers’ emotional outcomes. Conclusion: Interventions should be offered based on caregivers’ needs rather than patients’ health outcomes, and should focus on fostering caregivers’ feelings of personal gain, assisting them with securing social support, and engaging in valued activities.

Access source material through DOI

Changes in caregiver burden among informal caregivers of stroke patients in Mongolia

Background: Modern therapeutics and health care improvements prolong stroke patients’ survival however, the degree of disability remains high. Stroke survivors often require caregivers, particularly in the first year after the onset of the stroke. Longitudinal assessment of and factors associated with caregiver burden (CGB) among caregivers of stroke patients has been scarcely discussed. This study aimed to define the changes in CGB in the first year of caregiving among the caregivers of stroke patients and to identify associated factors. Methods: A prospective, multi-centered observational study was conducted in nine public hospitals in Mongolia. We used the Montgomery CGB Scale for assessing CGB, and repeated the assessment after 1 year. Stroke patient characteristics were included in the analyses. Multinomial logistic regressions were conducted to analyze changes in CGB. Results: A paired t-test analysis revealed that demand burden increased (from 12.61 to 11.50, p  = 0.034), whereas stress burden decreased (from 10.69 to 11.60, p  = 0.016). Although objective burden decreased, the difference was not significant. Factors associated with these changes in CGB were the caregiver’s marital status, the caregiver’s relationship with the patient, financial difficulties, and the patient’s sex and dependency.  Discussion: The information on factors predicting changes in CGB in the first year of caregiving provided in this study suggests that social or financial support can assist in reducing CGB among the caregivers of post-stroke patients.

Access source material through DOI

The interactive effect of advanced cancer patient and caregiver prognostic understanding on patients' completion of Do Not Resuscitate orders

Objective: Advanced cancer patients' prognostic understanding is associated with completion of Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders, which often represent engagement in advance care planning (ACP). Given caregivers' critical roles in patient decision-making about ACP and end-of-life care, caregivers' prognostic understanding may have a large additive effect. The present study examined the association between the main and interactive effects of advanced cancer patient and caregiver prognostic understanding on DNR order completion.; Methods: Data were analyzed from a combined dataset of 2 sequential multi-institutional, longitudinal cohort studies of patients with advanced cancer and their informal caregivers (n = 279 dyads) from 2002 to 2008 (Coping with Cancer 1) and 2010 to 2015 (Coping with Cancer 2). Patients' and caregivers' prognostic understanding regarding life-expectancy (≤ 12 months [prognostic understanding], >12 months [lack of prognostic understanding]) was assessed. DNR order completion was assessed through self-report and confirmed through cross-checking with medical records.; Results: Multivariable modeling of the main and interactive effects revealed the interactive effect, but not the individual effects, of patients' and caregivers' prognostic understanding was significantly associated with higher odds of patients' DNR order completion, adjusting for potential confounds (AOR = 5.89, P = 0.04). For dyads in which both the patient and caregiver had prognostic understanding regarding life expectancy of ≤12 months, 70.7% of patients had completed DNR orders compared with 31.6% to 38.9% in which 1 or both lacked prognostic understanding.; Conclusions: Findings highlight the need for ensuring accurate patient and caregiver prognostic understanding in increasing DNR order completion, which may provide a framework for improving engagement in ACP more broadly.

Access source material through DOI

Caregiver Self-Esteem as a Predictor of Patient Relationship Satisfaction: A Longitudinal Study

Objective: Longitudinal assessment of patient-caregiver relationships will determine whether caregiver self-esteem determines patient relationship satisfaction at end of life.; Background: Research on close relationships and caregiving supports the idea that informal caregivers' self-esteem may influence their relationships with their terminally ill loved ones. However, this connection has not yet been investigated longitudinally, nor has it been applied specifically to care recipients' relationship satisfaction.; Methods: A sample of 24 caregivers and 24 patients in a hospice home care program were recruited. Multiple patient and caregiver interviews were used to conduct a longitudinal study to measure fluctuations in patient health, changes in patient and caregiver relationship satisfaction, and self-esteem over a three-month period.; Results: An interaction between caregiver self-esteem and patient relationship satisfaction demonstrated the role that self-esteem plays between caregivers and patients enrolled in hospice care. Specifically, for patients with caregivers with low self-esteem, patient relationship satisfaction significantly decreased as the patient's physical health decreased, whereas for patients whose caregivers had high self-esteem, patient relationship satisfaction marginally increased during poorer physical health.; Discussion: High self-esteem may allow caregivers to overcome feelings of burden and maladaptive anticipatory grief to remain satisfied in their relationship with the patient. Caregiver self-esteem appears to play a role in fostering patient relationship satisfaction at the end of life.

Access source material through DOI

Weekly hours of informal caregiving and paid work, and the risk of cardiovascular disease

Background: Little is known on the association between weekly hours of informal caregiving and risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The objective was to investigate the individual and joint effects of weekly hours of informal caregiving and paid work on the risk of CVD.; Methods: Pooled analysis with 1396 informal caregivers in gainful employment, from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health and the Whitehall II study. Informal caregiving was defined as care for an aged or disabled relative. The outcome was CVD during 10 years follow-up. Analyzes were adjusted for age, sex, children, marital status and occupational grade.; Results: There were 59 cases of CVD. Providing care >20 h weekly were associated with a higher risk of CVD compared to those providing care 1-8 h weekly (hazard ratio = 2.63, 95%CI: 1.20; 5.76), irrespectively of weekly work hours. In sensitivity analyzes, we found this risk to be markedly higher among long-term caregivers (6.17, 95%CI: 1.73; 22.1) compared to short-term caregivers (0.89, 95%CI: 0.10; 8.08). Caregivers working ≥55 h weekly were at higher risk of CVD (2.23, 95%CI: 1.14; 4.35) compared to those working 35-40 h weekly. Those providing care >8 h and working ≤40 h weekly had a higher risk of CVD compared to those providing care 1-8 h and working ≤40 h (3.23, 95%CI: 1.25; 8.37).; Conclusion: A high number of weekly hours of informal caregiving as opposed to few weekly hours is associated with a higher risk of CVD, irrespectively of weekly work hours. The excess risk seemed to be driven by those providing care over long periods of time.

Access source material through DOI

Informal caregiving as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes in individuals with favourable and unfavourable psychosocial work environments: A longitudinal multi-cohort study

Aim: To examine whether informal caregiving is associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), and whether job strain and social support at work modify the association.; Methods: Individual participant's data were pooled from three cohort studies-the French GAZEL study, the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH) and the British Whitehall II study-a total of 21,243 study subjects. Informal caregiving was defined as unpaid care for a closely related person. Job strain was assessed using the demand-control model, and questions on co-worker and supervisor support were combined in a measure of social support at work. Incident T2D was ascertained using registry-based, clinically assessed and self-reported data.; Results: A total of 1058 participants developed T2D during the up to 10 years of follow-up. Neither informal caregiving (OR: 1.09, 95% CI: 0.92-1.30) nor high job strain (OR: 1.04, 95% CI: 0.86-1.26) were associated with T2D risk, whereas low social support at work was a risk factor for T2D (OR: 1.18, 95% CI: 1.02-1.37). Also, informal caregivers who were also exposed to low social support at work were at higher risk of T2D (OR: 1.40, 95% CI: 1.08-1.82) compared with those who were not informal caregivers and had high social support at work (multiplicative test for interaction, P=0.04; additive test for interaction, synergy index=10).; Conclusion: Informal caregiving was not independently associated with T2D risk. However, low social support at work was a risk factor, and informal caregivers with low social support at work had even higher risks of T2D.

Access source material through DOI

Predicting caregiver burden in informal caregivers caring for persons with dementia living at home - A follow-up cohort study

Longitudinal studies of caregiver burden when caring for persons with dementia living at home are sparse. The aim of the study was to identify factors associated with caregiver burden and predicting increased burden related to caregivers, persons with dementia and formal care. Data were collected through interviews with 1223 caregivers in eight European countries. Bivariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed. Factors associated with caregiver burden included extensive informal care provision, decreased well-being and reduced quality of life for the caregiver and reduced cognition, decreased quality of life, severe neuropsychiatric symptoms and depression in the person with dementia and caregivers' negative experience of quality of care. Factors predicting an increased burden were diminished caregiver well-being, severe neuropsychiatric symptoms of the person with dementia and caregivers' negative perception of quality of care. The knowledge gained in this study may be useful in developing more adequate service systems and interventions to improve dementia care.

Access source material through DOI

Informal caregiving and metabolic markers in the UK Household Longitudinal Study

Objectives: Informal caregiving is associated with poorer mental and physical health. Little research has yet focused on objectively measured health risk factors, such as metabolic markers. The aim of this study was to investigate whether informal caregiving was associated with markers of metabolism in a large, representative UK longitudinal study. We also investigated whether more intensive caregiving, as indicated by more caregiving hours, was associated with a less favourable metabolic profile.; Study Design/outcome Measures: Using data on 9408 participants aged 16+ from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, we explored the relationship between caregiving and metabolic markers (blood pressure, total and high density lipoprotein cholesterol, glycated haemoglobin and triglycerides). We additionally investigated the importance of caregiving intensity (number of hours spent caregiving per week). Associations between caregiving/caregiving intensity and metabolic markers were tested using gender-stratified linear regression models adjusted for age, household income, education, social class, chronic illness, number of dependent children in the household, body mass index and partnership status.; Results: Men who were informal caregivers had higher total cholesterol levels than non-caregivers (3.25% higher, 95% CI: 0.07, 6.53). Women caregivers also had higher total cholesterol levels and women providing intensive care (over 20 h per week) had higher triglyceride levels (19.91% higher, 95% CI: 7.22, 34.10) and lower levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (8.46% lower, 95% CI: 14.51, 1.99); however, associations for women were attenuated in our final models.; Conclusions: Informal caregiving is associated with less favourable lipid profiles. This may be one mechanism through which informal caregiving is associated with increased disease risk. The health of informal caregivers should be a priority for public health.

Access source material through DOI

Impact of the Macmillan specialist Care at Home service: a mixed methods evaluation across six sites

Background: The Midhurst Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care at Home Service was founded in 2006 to improve community-based palliative care provision. Principal components include; early referral; home-based clinical interventions; close partnership working; and flexible teamwork. Following a successful introduction, the model was implemented in six further sites across England. This article reports a mixed methods evaluation of the implementation across these 'Innovation Centres'. The evaluation aimed to assess the process and impact on staff, patients and carers of providing Macmillan Specialist Care at Home services across the six sites.; Methods: The study was set within a Realist Evaluation framework and used a longitudinal, mixed methods research design. Data collection over 15 months (2014-2016) included: Quantitative outcome measures - Palliative Performance Scale [PPS] and Palliative Prognostic Index [PPI] (n = 2711); Integrated Palliative Outcome Scales [IPOS] (n = 1157); Carers Support Needs Assessment Tool [CSNAT] (n = 241); Views of Informal Carers -Evaluation of Services [VOICES-SF] (n = 102); a custom-designed Service Data Tool [SDT] that gathered prospective data from each site (n = 88). Qualitative data methods included: focus groups with project team and staff (n = 32 groups with n = 190 participants), and, volunteers (n = 6 groups with n = 32 participants). Quantitative data were analysed using SPPS Vs. 21 and qualitative data was examined via thematic analysis.; Results: Comparison of findings across the six sites revealed the impact of their unique configurations on outcomes, compounded by variations in stage and mode of implementation. PPS, PPI and IPOS data revealed disparity in early referral criteria, complicated by contrasting interpretations of palliative care. The qualitative analysis, CSNAT and VOICES-SF data confirmed the value of the Macmillan model of care but uptake of specialist home-based clinical interventions was limited. The Macmillan brand engendered patient and carer confidence, bringing added value to existing services. Significant findings included better co-ordination of palliative care through project management and a single referral point and multi-disciplinary teamwork including leadership from consultants in palliative medicine, the role of health care assistants in rapid referral, and volunteer support.; Conclusions: Macmillan Specialist Care at Home increases patient choice about place of death and enhances the quality of end of life experience. Clarification of key components is advocated to aid consistency of implementation across different sites and support future evaluative work.

Access source material through DOI

The relation between personality, informal caregiving, life satisfaction and health-related quality of life: evidence of a longitudinal study

Purpose: Personality characteristics of the caregiver might play a role in the relation between informal caregiving and health-related quality of life as well as life satisfaction. However, a limited body of research has examined this relation. This study aimed to examine the role personality characteristics of the caregiver might play in the relation between informal caregiving and well-being outcomes using a longitudinal approach.; Methods: Data were derived from the large Panel 'Labour Market and Social Security.' This is an annual household survey, which is conducted by order of the Institute for Employment Research covering persons and households registered as residents of Germany. The SF-12 was used to capture health-related quality of life (covering physical and mental health). A short version of the Big Five Inventory (BFI-K) was used to quantify personality factors. Life satisfaction was measured by a single-item measure. Concentrating on these factors, we used data from the third (2008/2009), sixth (2012), and ninth wave (2015). 34,548 observations were used in fixed effects regressions.; Results: Adjusting for various potential confounders, linear fixed effects regressions showed that the onset of informal caregiving reduced life satisfaction (β = - .14, p < .01), but not physical and mental health. The relation between informal caregiving and life satisfaction was significantly moderated by agreeableness (p < .01).; Conclusions: Findings of the present study emphasized that agreeableness moderates the relationship between informal caregiving and life satisfaction. Measuring personality characteristics of the informal caregiver is important for tailoring interventional strategies in order to increase the benefit of these programs.

Access source material through DOI

Co-resident care-giving and problematic sleep among older people: evidence from the UK Household Longitudinal Study

In light of current pressures within formal social care services, informal carers assume an important role in meeting the care needs of a growing number of older people. Research suggests relationships between care-giving and health are complex and not yet fully understood. Recently, wide-ranging associations between sleep and health have been identified, however, our understanding of the links between care-giving and sleep is limited at present. This study assesses longitudinal patterns in co-resident care-giving and problematic sleep among older people in the United Kingdom. Our sample included 2,470 adults aged 65 years and older from the UK Household Longitudinal Study. Problematic sleep was defined as two or more problems in going to sleep, staying asleep or sleep quality. Using logistic regression models, we assessed how co-resident care-giving status, intensity and transitions influence the likelihood of problematic sleep in the following year, adjusting for potential confounding factors. Adjusted analyses found co-resident care-givers were 1.49 (95% confidence interval = 1.06–2.08) times more likely to report problematic sleep in the following year, relative to those not providing care. Care-giving over 20 hours per week and continuous co-resident care-giving also significantly increased the odds of problematic sleep. This suggests older co-resident care-givers may be at greater risk of incurring sleep problems than non-care-givers. Further longitudinal research is needed to investigate care-giver-specific consequences of poor sleep.

Access source material through DOI

Coping strategies and quality of life: a longitudinal study of high-grade glioma patient-caregiver dyads

Background: Among a sample of patient-informal caregiver dyads in the specific context of new diagnoses of high-grade glioma in the time-frame between diagnosis and the third month following diagnosis, we examine whether the coping strategies implemented by the patients and their caregivers influenced their own quality of life (QoL) and the QoL of their relatives.; Methods: Thirty-eight dyads with patients having recent diagnoses of high-grade glioma were involved in this longitudinal study. The self-reported data include QoL (Patient-Generated Index, EORTC QLQ-C30, and CareGiver Oncology Quality of Life), and coping strategies (BriefCope). Data were collected at T1 corresponding to the time-frame between diagnosis and postsurgical treatment initiation and T2 corresponding to the 3-month post-inclusion follow-up.; Results: Coping strategies based on social support and avoidance were the least used at baseline and the 3-month follow-up, both for patients and caregivers. At the 3-month follow-up, the use of social support at baseline was significantly related to lower scores of QoL for the patients and with higher QoL for the caregivers. For the patient, the use of problem-solving or positive thinking at baseline was not related to his/her QoL, while it was related to more satisfactory QoL scores for the caregiver. The use of avoidance at baseline was linked to a higher 3-month QoL for the patients and a lower 3-month QoL for the caregivers. Using the specific dyadic analyses (actor-partner interdependence model), the 3-month patient's QoL was lower (β = - 0.322; p = 0.03) when the patient mobilized the social support strategy at baseline, but was higher(β = 0.631; p < 10- 3) when his/her informal caregiver used this strategy. After adjustment for sex, age, and baseline PGI score, the link between high use of the social support strategy at baseline by the caregiver and the patient's 3-month QoL, remained present (positive partner effect; β =0.675; p < 10- 3).; Conclusion: The QoL for patients and their informal caregivers since the time of diagnosis is directly related to the use of coping strategies based on social support at time of diagnosis.

Access source material through DOI

Informal care and sleep disturbance among caregivers in paid work: Longitudinal analyses from a large community-based Swedish cohort study

Study objectives: To examine cross-sectionally and prospectively whether informal caregiving is related to sleep disturbance among caregivers in paid work.; Methods: Participants (N=21 604) in paid work from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health. Sleeping problems were measured with a validated scale of sleep disturbance (Karolinska Sleep Questionnaire). Random-effects modelling was used to examine the cross-sectional association between informal caregiving (self-reports: none, up to 5h per week, over 5h per week) and sleep disturbance. Potential socio-demographic and health confounders were controlled for and interactions between caregiving and gender included. Longitudinal random-effects modelling of the effects of changes in reported informal caregiving upon sleep disturbance and change in sleep disturbance were performed.; Results: In multivariate analyses controlling for socio-demographics, health factors and work hours, informal caregiving was associated cross-sectionally with sleep disturbance in a dose-response relationship (compared to no caregiving, up to 5h of caregiving: β = .03; 95% CI: .01; .06, over 5h: β = .08; 95% CI: .02; .13), results which varied by gender. Cessation of caregiving was associated with reductions in sleep disturbance (β = -.08; 95% CI: -.13; -.04).; Conclusions: This study provides evidence for a causal association of provision of informal care upon subjective sleep disturbance. Even low intensity care provision was related to sleep disturbance among this sample of carers in paid work. The results highlight the importance of addressing sleep disturbance in caregivers.

Access source material through DOI

Evaluation of DementiaNet, a network-based primary care innovation for community-dwelling patients with dementia: protocol for a longitudinal mixed methods multiple case study

Introduction: Primary healthcare professionals will increasingly be required to manage and optimise their treatment for patients with dementia. With DementiaNet, we aim to reduce the burden of dementia on healthcare services and society through implementation and facilitation of integrated network-based care with increased dementia expertise. DementiaNet is designed as a stepwise approach including clinical leadership, quality improvement cycles and interprofessional training, which are tailor-made to the local context. For example, the composition of the network and improvement goals are tailored to the local context and availability. Here, we describe the linked evaluation study which aims to provide insight in effectiveness, process and mechanism of the DementiaNet approach through an innovative evaluation design.; Methods and Analysis: We designed a longitudinal, mixed methods, multiple case study. Study population consists of two levels: (i) local DementiaNet networks of primary care professionals and (ii) patients and informal caregivers who receive care from these networks. At the start and after 12 and 24 months, quantitative data are collected for each network on: level of network maturity, quality of care indicators and outcomes reported by informal caregivers of dementia patients. We assess changes in networks over time and the association with quality of care and informal caregiver-reported outcomes. Throughout the study, logs about each network are registered. Additionally, semi-structured interviews with network members and informal caregivers will provide insight in experiences and opinions regarding effects and mechanisms through which changes in quantitative outcomes are effectuated. Rich narratives will be constructed about the development of the local networks using collected data.; Ethics and Dissemination: The study protocol was reviewed by the local medical ethics committee; formal judgement was not required (protocol number: 2015-2053). The findings of this study will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and presentations for healthcare professionals where appropriate.

Access source material through DOI

The impact of older person's frailty on the care-related quality of life of their informal caregiver over time: results from the TOPICS-MDS project

Purpose: To examine the impact of changes in an older person's frailty on the care-related quality of life of their informal caregiver.; Methods: Five research projects in the TOPICS-MDS database with data of both older person and informal caregiver at baseline and after 12 months follow-up were selected. Frailty was measured in five health domains (functional limitations, psychological well-being, social functioning, health-related quality of life, self-rated health). Care-related quality of life was measured with the Care-Related Quality of Life instrument (CarerQoL-7D), containing two positive (fulfilment, perceived support) and five negative dimensions (relational problems, mental health problems, physical health problems, financial problems, problems combining informal care with daily activities).; Results: 660 older person/caregiver couples were included. Older persons were on average 79 (SD 6.9) years of age, and 61% was female. Caregivers were on average 65 (SD 12.6) years of age, and 68% was female. Results of the multivariable linear and logistic regression analyses showed that an increase in older person's frailty over time was related to a lower total care-related quality of life of the caregiver, and to more mental and physical health problems, and problems with combining informal care with daily activities at follow-up. A change in the older person's psychological well-being was most important for the caregiver's care-related quality of life, compared to the other health domains.; Conclusions: Health professionals observing decreasing psychological well-being of an older person and increasing hours of informal care provision should be aware of the considerable problems this may bring to their informal caregiver, and should tailor interventions to support informal caregivers according to their specific needs and problems.

Access source material through DOI

Internal resources among informal caregivers: trajectories and associations with well-being

Purpose: The experiences, skills, and internal resources that informal caregivers bring into their role may play a critical part in their mental health and well-being. This study examined how caregiver internal resources changed over a 10 year period, and how this was related to caregivers' well-being.; Methods: Data are from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study, a national sample of adults, at two time points: 1995-1996 (T1) and 2004-2006 (T2). We identified subjects who reported being a caregiver at T2 and starting care after T1 (mean age = 56; 65% female). We examined internal resources: sense of control (personal mastery); primary and secondary control strategies (persistence in goal striving, positive reappraisal, and lowering expectations); and social support seeking, and psychological and subjective well-being. We evaluated how internal resources changed over time, and how these trajectories were associated with well-being at T2 using multivariable linear regressions.; Results: Most caregivers had stable levels of internal resources (between 4 and 13% showed an increase or decrease). Caregivers with increasing or high-stable levels of personal mastery had significantly better well-being scores on 6 out of 8 subscales compared with low-stable levels [effect sizes (ES) between 0.39 and 0.79]. Increasing persistence was associated with better personal growth and environmental mastery (ES = 0.96 and 0.91), and increasing and high-stable positive reappraisals were associated with better affect (ES = 0.63 and 0.48) compared with low-stable levels. Lowering aspirations and support seeking were not associated with well-being outcomes.; Conclusions: Practices or interventions that support or improve internal resources could potentially improve caregiver well-being.

Access source material through DOI

Testing the effectivity of the mixed virtual reality training Into D'mentia for informal caregivers of people with dementia: protocol for a longitudinal, quasi-experimental study

Introduction: Informal caregivers for people with dementia (hereafter: caregivers) often feel (over)burdened by the care for a loved one with dementia, and this can have various deleterious effects on both caregivers and patients. Support for caregivers is urgently needed, and for this reason, a dementia simulator (Into D'mentia) was developed in which caregivers experience what it is like to have dementia. The simulator attempts to heighten caregivers' empathy and understanding for the patient and, in turn, diminish their own caregiver burden. The current study evaluates whether the simulator is effective on a number of outcomes.; Methods and Analysis: A longitudinal, quasi-experimental study is ongoing in the Netherlands. We aim to recruit 142 caregivers in total divided over two groups: 71 caregivers in the intervention group and 71 caregivers in the control group. All participants will complete interviews and questionnaires at four time points: at baseline, 1 week, 2.5 months and 15 months after the training. The primary outcomes include empathy, caregiver burden, caregiver's sense of competence, social reliance, anxiety, depression and caregivers' subjective and objective health.; Ethics and Dissemination: This study is being carried out in agreement with the Declaration of Helsinki, and the protocol has been approved by the local ethics committees.; Registration Details: This study is registered with The Netherlands National Trial Register (NNTR5856).

Access source material through DOI

Back to Work? Not Everyone. Examining the Longitudinal Relationships Between Informal Caregiving and Paid Work After Formal Retirement

Objectives: Research on unretirement (retirees who re-enter the workforce) is burgeoning. However, no longitudinal study has examined how informal care relates to unretirement. Utilizing role theory, this study aims to explore the heterogeneity of informal care responsibilities in retirement and to examine how informal care informs re-entering the workforce in later life.; Method: Data were drawn from the Health and Retirement Study of fully retired individuals aged 62 years and older in 1998 (n = 8,334) and followed to 2008. Informal care responsibilities included helping a spouse/partner with activities of daily living (ADLs) or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs); helping parent(s) or parent-in-law(s) with ADLs or IADLs; and single or co-occurrence of care roles. Covariates included economic and social factors. Cox proportional hazard models were utilized.; Results: When compared with noncaregivers, helping a spouse with ADLs or IADLs reduced the odds of returning-to-work in the subsequent wave by 78% and 55%, respectively (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.22, confidence interval [CI]: 0.06-0.87; HR: 0.45, CI: 0.21-0.97). There was no statistical difference to returning-to-work between noncaregivers and helping parents with ADLs/IADLs or multiple caregiving responsibilities.; Discussion: Role theory provided a useful framework to understand the relationships of informal care and unretirement. Aspects of role strain emerged, where, spousal caregivers were less likely to come out of retirement. Spousal caregivers may face challenges to working longer, and subsequently, opportunities to bolster their retirement security are diminished. Research and policy implications are discussed.

Access source material through DOI

A longitudinal study looking at and beyond care recipient health as a predictor of long term care home admission

Background: The unpaid care provided by informal caregivers allows care recipients to live longer in their homes, which often results in fewer unnecessary long term care home (LTCH) admissions. Although the relationship between care recipient's health characteristics and institutionalization is well known, the influence of caregiver distress and caregiving coresidence and relationship on this outcome is less clear. This study examines the association of care recipient care needs, caregiver distress and caregiving coresidence and relationship with care recipient long term care home admission.; Methods: A total of 94,957 resident assessment instruments-home care (RAI-HC), completed between April 01st 2013 and April 01st, 2014 as part of a clinical practice by 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) in Ontario, Canada, were linked to LTCH admissions within 1 year after completion of the first RAI-HC assessment. Cox models were used to examine whether care recipient health care needs, caregiver distress and caregiving characteristics such as coresidence and relationship were associated with LTCH admission. Age, marital status and gender of the care recipient were included as covariates in the model.; Results: Care recipient health care needs and age were the strongest predictors of LTCH admission followed by caregiver distress and caregiving coresidence and relationship. Care recipient marital status was not significant in the survival model. Interestingly, care recipients who were cared for by a coresiding adult child caregiver were less likely to be admitted to a LTCH than care recipients cared for by a spouse caregiver coresiding or not with care recipient. Hazard rates (HR) of admission for care recipients cared for by caregivers coresiding and with other type of relationship with care recipient were not significantly different than HR of care recipients cared for by coresiding child caregivers.; Conclusions: These results emphasize the influence of caregiver distress in LTCH admission and highlight the impact of caregiving relationship and coresidence on this outcome. Policy and decision makers should consider these findings when developing and evaluating interventions aiming to avoid LTCH admissions. Moreover, caregiving coresidence and relationship should be explored in future studies with similar aims, as this information has been neglected in past research.;

Access source material through DOI

Individualized support for informal caregivers of people with dementia - effectiveness of the German adaptation of REACH II

Background: Individualized, outreach and structured multicomponent interventions are a promising intervention approach to relieve the burden of informal caregivers of people with dementia. In this study, we adapted and evaluated a multicomponent intervention (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health II, REACH II), which was developed in the USA, to the German health-care system. Therefore the project is called the German adaptation of REACH II (in German: Deutsche Adaptation der REACH II, DE-REACH).; Methods: The effectiveness of DE-REACH was examined in a randomized, controlled trial on 92 informal caregivers of people with dementia. The intervention comprised 12 individual two-weekly sessions (9 at home with the informal caregiver and 3 via telephone) and combined five modules. The reduction of the burden of the informal caregivers was chosen as the primary outcome.; Results: The results showed a great stabilizing effect of the intervention on caregiver burden (effect size d = 0.91), that is, comparing pre- and post-measurements the burden decreased very slightly in the intervention group whereas it increased very strongly in the control group. After a three-month follow-up period this effect decreased from a great to a moderate effect. There were also improvements as a result of the intervention in somatization, health-related psychological quality of life and the reaction of the informal caregivers in response to challenging behaviors of the relative with dementia. Moreover, the frequency of challenging behaviors of the affected person itself was reduced in favor of the intervention.; Conclusion: The findings of this study provide further evidence for the impact of multicomponent support interventions for informal caregivers of people with dementia.; Clinical Trial Registration: NCT01690117 . Registered September 17, 2012.

Access source material through DOI

High perceived caregiver burden for relatives of patients following hip fracture surgery

Purpose: To determine the profile of the main informal caregivers, the evolution of the caregiver burden, and the influencing factors of caregiver burden at 1-year after hip fracture surgery.; Methods: In this prospective cohort study, a total of 172 informal caregivers of patients were interviewed at four points during 1 year following hip fracture surgery in a regional hospital in southern Spain. The perceived caregiver burden was assessed using the Caregiver Strain Index (0-13 points).; Results: The mean (Standard Deviation) age of the 172 caregivers was 56 (13) years, of which 133 (77%) were woman and 94 (55%) were daughters of the patient. Seventy-nine of the 172 (46%) caregivers perceived a high level of burden (≥ 7 points on the Caregiver Strain Index) at the hospital. The corresponding numbers with perceived high level of burden at 1-month, 3-months, and 1-year were 87 (50%), 61 (36%), and 45 (26%) caregivers. A low pre-fracture functional status, post-operative complications, older age of patients, and younger age of caregivers negatively influence caregiver burden at 1-year.; Conclusions: The main caregiver is predominantly female and is most often the daughter of the patient. New treatment strategies such as the support and training of the caregivers in patient handling during hospital stay could be carried out to reduce caregiver burden. Implications for rehabilitation The main caregiver of a hip fracture patient is usually a woman who is the daughter of the patient, and reducing her burden of care should be included as one of the objectives of rehabilitation treatment. The caregivers of hip fracture patients must be considered as part of the treatment during the patient's recovery period, and patient handling training should be provided to the caregivers of hip fracture patients during the hospital stay to prepare the process of going back home. The caregivers of older patients, those with a low pre-fracture functional level, and of those who suffered post-operative complications, should receive more attention prior to hospital discharge and receive more assistance at home to reduce caregiver burden.

Access source material through DOI

Prolonged grief disorder and depression are distinct for caregivers across their first bereavement year

Background: Prolonged grief disorder (PGD) and depression are recognized as distinct emotional-distress disorders for bereaved family caregivers. However, this distinction has been mostly validated in cross-sectional studies, neglecting the dynamic characteristics of bereaved caregivers' emotional distress. Objective: To validate the distinction between symptoms of PGD and depression across the first bereavement year for family caregivers of terminally ill cancer patients. Methods: In this descriptive, longitudinal study of 394 bereaved Taiwanese family caregivers, we measured symptoms of PGD and depression by the Prolonged Grief-13 and Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scales at 6 and 13 months postloss, respectively. Agreement between cases of PGD and severe depressive symptoms (CES-D score ≥ 16) was analyzed by Cohen's kappa. Structural distinctiveness was longitudinally examined using confirmatory bifactor modeling. Results: Agreement was poor between cases of PGD and severe depressive symptoms at 6 and 13 months postloss (kappa = .16 [confidence interval = .09, .22] and .12 [confidence interval = .03, .19], respectively). Symptoms of PGD and depression shared a general factor, but were distinct as shown by their significant specific factor loadings at 6 and 13 months postloss. Confirmatory bifactor models showed structural invariance (confirmatory fit index difference < .01 and χ2 difference P > .05) between 6 and 13 months postloss. Conclusion: Symptoms of PGD and depression were confirmed as distinct across the first year of bereavement. Health care professionals should recognize early in bereavement that symptoms of PGD and depression are distinct, identify high-risk groups, and provide care tailored to caregivers' unique needs to facilitate recovery from bereavement-related emotional-distress disorders. 

Access source material through DOI

The vulnerability of family caregivers in relation to vulnerability as understood by nurses

In Finland, the care of older persons is shifting from institutional care to family care. Research shows that family caregivers experience their situation much in the same way as professional nurses. The nurses' experiences have been studied in terms of vulnerability, and the same perspective could deepen our understanding of family caregivers' experiences. The aim of this study was to gain knowledge of the vulnerability of older caregivers taking care of an ageing family member. The research questions were as follows: How do family caregivers experience vulnerability? How do their experiences relate to vulnerability as understood by nurses? The study was done as a secondary analysis of focus group interviews on the experiences and daily life of older family caregivers. Four caregivers had taken part in monthly interviews during a period of 10 months. The interviews were analysed by deductive and inductive content analysis. The results showed that the caregivers saw caregiving as part of being human. They experienced a variety of feelings and moral agony and were harmed physically, mentally and socially. They showed courage, protected themselves and recognised that being a caregiver also was a source of maturing and developing. These results corresponded with the nurses' understanding of vulnerability. Shame, the experience of duty as a burden, worry and loneliness were themes that were found only among the family caregivers. The use of a matrix may have restricted the analysis, but using it in an unconstrained way allowed for new themes to be created. The results indicate a common humanness and vulnerability in professional and family caregiving. They also show that family caregivers need more support both from society and professionals. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Access source material through DOI

Caregiving and Caregiver Burden in Dementia Home Care: Results from the Prospective Dementia Registry (PRODEM) of the Austrian Alzheimer Society

Background: Comprehensive studies on caregiver burden (CB) of persons caring for dementia patients differ methodologically and show variable results.<bold>Objective: </bold>Analysis of known and hypothesized factors of CB in home care of dementia patients. Methods: Multicenter longitudinal study comprising 585 persons caring mostly for Alzheimer's disease patients (age median 77.25 years, Mini-Mental State Examination raw score median 23) using the Zarit Caregiver Burden Interview (CBI). Known patient-related determinants of CB were studied, such as dementia severity (Clinical Dementia Rating, CDR), neuropsychological deficits (CERAD-Plus), neuropsychiatric symptoms (Neuropsychiatric Inventory, NPI), disability (Disability Assessment for Dementia, DAD), dependency (Dependency Scale, DS), and moreover, unclarified potential factors (age, sex, education of patients; age, sex, occupational status of the caregivers; family relationship). Psychological and somatic effects of CB were analyzed (factor analysis). Results: Caregiver age was median 61. Female caregivers prevailed (67.8%). Median CBI sum score (CBIss) was 16 at baseline. After two years, CBIss was 22 and 37% of the caregivers reported mild to moderate (CBIss 21-40), 16.8% moderate to severe or severe (≥41), and 46.2% absent to little CB (CBIss ≤ 20). CB correlated positively with NPI, CDR, DS scores, disability (DAD), years of education of the patients, and proximity of patient and caregiver sex (female), and negatively with caregiver age. Caregivers reported restrictions of time, health problems, and negative emotions. Conclusion: The findings are applicable to identify persons at risk for substantial CB and its consequences. There is demand for personal, psychological, and medical support of caregivers and increasing male participation. 

Access source material through DOI

Informal caregiving transitions, subjective well-being and depressed mood: Findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Objectives: To prospectively investigate the impact of transitions in informal caregiving on emotional well-being over two years in a large population study of older people. Methods: Information on provision of unpaid care in 2004/2005 and 2006/2007 was available for 6571 participants in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Three well-being domains were also assessed on each occasion: life satisfaction (measured with the Satisfaction with Life Scale); quality of life (assessed with the CASP-19 scale); and depression symptoms (measured using the Centers for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale). Multivariable analyses of the impact on well-being of two-year caregiving transitions (caregiving entry and caregiving exit, or continued caring) were conducted separately for spousal/child carers and carers of other family/non-relatives. Results: Compared to non-caregiving, entry into spousal/child caregiving was associated with decline in quality of life (B= −1.60,p< .01) whereas entry into caregiving involving other kin relations increased life satisfaction (B= 1.02,p< .01) and lowered depression symptoms (B= −0.26,p< .05). Contrary to expectations, caregiving exit was related to increased depression in both spousal/child (B= 0.44,p< .01) and non-spousal/child (B= 0.25,p< .05) carers. Continued spousal/child caregiving was also related to decline in quality of life (B= −1.24,p< .05). Other associations were suggestive but non-significant. Conclusion:The emotional impact of different caregiving transitions in later life differs across kin relationships; notably, spousal and child carers' well-being was consistently compromised at every stage of their caregiving career over the two-year study period. 

Access source material through DOI

To be or not to be? A caregiver's question: the lived experience of a stroke family during the first 18 months poststroke

Background: Disability following a stroke often requires family, commonly a spouse, to provide care enabling the stroke survivor to return home. Immediate or extended family and friends may help provide direct care or support the primary caregiver. While family members share the common stroke experience, this is lived within the context of separate lives. Research examining the individual nuances, roles and contribution of family and/or friends forming part of collective stroke networks, has largely been overlooked. Aim: This New Zealand study aimed to explore the lived experience of three stroke family members during the 18 months following a first‐ever stroke. Method: Hermeneutic phenomenology guided the study. Informed consent was obtained prior to individual interviews conducted 6 weeks, 12 months and 18 months poststroke. Findings: Three main themes emerged: (i) Being prepared, (ii) Where you stand changes the view and (iii) Relinquishing and reclaiming. Being prepared revealed how these family members anticipated the stroke and drew on personal and professional experience in facing the phenomenon. The second theme showed the influence of expectation and positionality on family members' experiences. Relinquishing and reclaiming identified loss, grief and a quest for equity in the synthesis of competing stroke survivor and caregiver desires. Conclusions: Familiarity with the caregiving role and experience of unreliable community services led stroke family members to question the primary caregiver's ability to resume caregiving following a family member's stroke. The primary caregiver was physically and emotionally spent, and rest home care for the survivor became the only self‐preserving option. A new caring arrangement was formulated seeking equity for both stroke survivor and caregiver. 

Access source material through DOI

Patterns of change and stability in caregiver burden and life satisfaction from 1 to 2 years after severe traumatic brain injury: A Norwegian longitudinal study

OBJECTIVE: To assess burden and life satisfaction in family members of patients with severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI) at 1 and 2 years post-injury, examine if change in burden can be predicted by family member and patient demographics, patient's functional status, family members social network or level of burden at 1 year. METHODS: Prospective national multicenter study. Self-report from family members, patient data collected from a national cohort study on patients with sTBI. 80 family members participated. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The Caregiver Burden Scale (CBS), life satisfaction. RESULTS: Total burden increased between years 1 and 2 post-injury (P = 0.04). Thirty percent of the family members reported an increased burden, 55% were stable, and 15% had a decrease in burden between the two follow-up times. Logistic regression analyses revealed that experiencing loneliness was an independent predictor of increased burden from 1 to 2 years post-injury (OR = 4.35, P < 0.05). Life Satisfaction was lower at the 2 year follow-up than at 1 year (p = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrate a need for long-term follow-up of patients and family members that focuses on professional support to relieve burden and risk of loneliness or social isolation. This group may benefit from additional follow-up interventions tailored to their needs.

Access source material through DOI

Intergenerational transfers and informal care for disabled elderly persons in China: evidence from CHARLS

Aiming at 'ageing healthier and ageing better', a certain amount of highquality informal care should be available for elderly persons with physical disability as formal care is barely accessible in China. The demographic transition and family structural changes have dramatically weakened traditional norms of filial piety and the structure of intergenerational transfers. This article employed nationwide representative data from the first wave (2011) of Chinese Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) in order to identify the duration of informal care provision at home for frail elders (1122 in rural areas and 577 in urban areas, total 1699), measured in monthly hours, before estimating the associations between intergenerational transfers and the received time of informal care with Tobit Model analysis. Results showed that financial support from the younger generation was unexpectedly negatively associated with the monthly hours of care, implying a reduction of caring support along with increasing financial transfers towards older parents. The lack of informal care could not be compensated by having more children, co-residing with children, or increasing the parent-to-child/grandchild transfers. Spouses were shown to replace children as the major caregivers. In addition, the communitybased long-term care system needs to be promoted to sustain and develop informal care, as the latter will become increasingly important with changing family dynamics. Finally, the received time of informal care, rather than the severity of physical disability measured by difficulty with ADLs or IADLs, was introduced to identify the actual demand for care by elders. The paper argues that it is important to reconceptualise and re-investigate the duration of care provision in the Chinese context in order to develop standards of payment as part of long-term care policies. 

Access source material through DOI

Longitudinal Changes in and Modifiable Predictors of the Prevalence of Severe Depressive Symptoms for Family Caregivers of Terminally Ill Cancer Patients over the First Two Years of Bereavement

Background: Bereaved families endure tremendous grief. However, few studies have longitudinally investigated caregivers' bereavement grief for more than one year postloss and none is from family-oriented Asian countries. Objectives: We explored longitudinal changes in and modifiable predictors of severe depressive symptoms for Taiwanese family caregivers of terminally ill cancer patients over the first two years postloss. Design: For this descriptive, longitudinal study, severe depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale score ≥16) were measured 1, 3, 6, 13, 18, and 24 months postloss. To identify modifiable factors (preloss depressive symptom levels, subjective caregiving burden, objective caregiving load, preparedness for patient death, and postloss social support) associated with postloss severe depressive symptoms, we used multivariate logistic regression modeling with the generalized estimating equation. Setting/Participants: Bereaved caregivers ( N = 285) were recruited by convenience from a medical center in northern Taiwan. Results: Bereaved family caregivers' prevalence of severe depressive symptoms peaked one month postloss (73.3%) and significantly decreased to 15.2% 24 months after the patient's death. After adjusting for confounders, bereaved caregivers were more likely to have severe depressive symptoms if they had heavy objective caregiving load and higher preloss depressive symptom levels. However, their likelihood of severe depressive symptoms was buffered by being better prepared for the patients' death and having greater social support. Conclusions: Bereaved family caregivers' severe depressive symptoms decreased significantly over the first two years postloss. Healthcare professionals should appropriately assess at-risk bereaved caregivers when patients are still alive and provide effective interventions to facilitate caregivers' return to normal life. 

Access source material through DOI

Maneuvering Together, Apart, and at Odds: Residents' Care Convoys in Assisted Living

Objectives: Frail and disabled individuals such as assisted living residents are embedded in "care convoys" comprised of paid and unpaid caregivers. We sought to learn how care convoys are configured and function in assisted living and understand how and why they vary and with what resident and caregiver outcomes. Method: We analyzed data from a qualitative study involving formal in-depth interviews, participant observation and informal interviewing, and record review. We prospectively studied 28 residents and 114 care convoy members drawn from four diverse assisted living communities over 2 years. Results: Care convoys involved family and friends who operated individually or shared responsibility, assisted living staff, and multiple external care workers. Residents and convoy members engaged in processes of "maneuvering together, apart, and at odds" as they negotiated the care landscape routinely and during health crises. Based on consensus levels, and the quality of collaboration and communication, we identified three main convoy types: cohesive, fragmented, and discordant. Discussion: Care convoys clearly shape care experiences and outcomes. Identifying strategies for establishing effective communication and collaboration practices and promoting convoy member consensus, particularly over time, is essential to the creation and maintenance of successful and supportive care partnerships. 

Access source material through DOI

Communication among cancer patients, caregivers, and hospice nurses: Content, process and change over time

Objective: First, to describe communication of home hospice nurse visits to cancer patient-caregiver dyads. Second, to assess change in communication related to domains of care over the course of visits. Methods: Multi-site prospective observational longitudinal study of audio-recorded home hospice visits (N=537 visits; 101 patient-caregiver dyads; 58 nurses). Communication was coded using the Roter Interaction Analysis System to describe content and process. Conversation representing three care domains (physical, psychosocial/daily life, and emotional) was calculated from RIAS categories across speakers and analyzed to assess change in communication over time. Results: On average, nurses spoke 54% of total utterances, caregivers 29%, and patients 17%. For all participants, the predominant conversational focus was on physical care. Linear mixed effects models indicated that combined participant emotional talk showed a small systematic decrease over time; however, the results for all domains indicated variability unexplained by time or speaker effects. Conclusions: Home hospice conversations are predominantly focused on physical care. Systematic change in communication versus responsiveness to the dynamic effects of patient death and family response over time are discussed. Practice Implications: Communication strategies already in use by hospice nurses could be leveraged and expanded upon to better facilitate family competence and confidence. 

Access source material through DOI

Health-related quality of life in caregivers of patients with Alzheimer disease

Introduction Informal caregivers of patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) have a poor health-related quality of life (HRQOL). HRQOL is an increasingly common user-focused outcome measure. We have evaluated HRQOL longitudinally in caregivers of AD patients at baseline and at 12 months. Methods Ninety-seven patients diagnosed with AD according to the NINCDS-ADRDA (National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke, and Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association) and their 97 respective primary caregivers were included in the study. We analysed the following data at the baseline visit: sociodemographic data of both patients and carers, patients’ clinical variables, and data related to the healthcare provided to patients by carers. HRQOL of caregivers was measured with the SF-36 questionnaire at baseline and 12 months later. Results At 12 months, primary caregivers scored lower in the 8 subscales of the SF-36 questionnaire; differences were statistically significant in all dimensions except for ‘physical function’ and ‘social function’. Baseline scores in our sample were lower than those of the general population. ‘Vitality’ is the dimension that presented the lowest scores. Conclusion HRQOL in caregivers of patients with AD deteriorates over time and is poorer than that of the age- and sex-matched general population. 

Access source material through DOI

What We Do: Key Activities of an Outpatient Palliative Care Team at an Academic Cancer Center

Background: Outpatient palliative care (PC) has been shown to positively impact quality of life and decrease healthcare utilization, but there are limited data describing what activities render these benefits. Objective: Describe the topics addressed by an outpatient PC team during scheduled visits. Design: Longitudinal cohort study. Setting: The Symptom Management Service, an ambulatory PC program at an academic comprehensive cancer center. Measurement: Between March 23, 2015 and June 14, 2016, outpatient PC providers completed a checklist after each clinic visit, documenting topics covered during the visit. Results: During the study period, 1243 visits were conducted for 577 unique patients. Symptom management was the topic most commonly addressed during initial visits (in 92% of visits), followed by an introduction of PC (69%), support for family caregivers (47%), and communication with other clinicians (38%). Providers also supported patients to understand their prognosis (28%), treatment options (36%), and to make care decisions (22%). Formal advance care planning activities occurred infrequently, however, including designation of a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (26%), completion of an advance directive or Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form (10%), and discussing hospice (8%). Follow-up visits were dominated by symptom management (93%) and caregiver support (27%). Conclusions: Symptom management, support for family and caregivers, and care coordination are the most common activities that occurred during scheduled outpatient PC visits. These findings can guide developing PC practices, as well as clinicians who provide primary PC. 

Access source material through DOI

Factors affecting in-hospital informal caregiving as decided by families: findings from a longitudinal study conducted in acute medical units

Background Informal caregiving offered by family members has been widely studied in the community setting, but little attention to date has been dedicated to that offered at the hospital level. Aims To describe the proportion of patients admitted to acute medical units receiving care from informal caregivers as decided by the family and to identify the factors affecting the numbers of care shifts performed by informal caregivers. Design and methods A longitudinal study was performed involving 12 acute medical units located in 12 northern Italian hospitals. Results All patients (N = 1464) admitted to medical units were included, and 77.1% of them received at least one shift of informal care during their in-hospital stay, especially during the mornings and afternoons. At the patient level, those at higher risk of prolonged hospitalisation and difficult discharge at admission, and those reporting higher occurrence of adverse events, such as pressure sores, confusion events and use of physical restraints during hospitalisation, were more likely receiving informal care. At the nursing care level, a higher amount of missed nursing care was associated with an increased number of care shifts offered by informal caregivers during patient hospitalisation, whereas the amount of care offered by staff was a protective factor. Conclusions Families play a care role in the care of older patients admitted to acute medical units. They contribute substantially to the care of patients, especially during morning and afternoon shifts. 

Access source material through DOI

Expressed emotion and the course of schizophrenia in Pakistan

Purpose: Aim of the study is to evaluate the predictive power of Expressed Emotion in Schizophrenia relapse in Pakistan. Method: A longitudinal study was conducted comprising 53 in-patients' sample diagnosed with Schizophrenia and their 101 key carers. Participants fulfilled DSM-IV-TR criteria for Schizophrenia based on Structural Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV diagnosis. Symptomatic status was measured through Brief Psychiatric Rating Scales-Expanded (BPRS-E). Caregivers' level of EE was assessed through Camberwell Family Interview (CFI). Patients were followed up for 9 months after hospital discharge.Results: Relapse rate for patients with high-EE household was 72% as compared with 36% in the low-EE household. Logistic Regression showed a positive relationship between high-EE and relapse (CI 0.06-0.80; p < 0.05). Both hostility and critical comments emerged as significant predictors of relapse. The odds ratio showed that a one unit increase in caregivers' score on the CCs and hostility scales were associated with a 1.29 (CI 1.06-1.56; p < 0.05) and 1.89 (CI 1.14-3.13; p < 0.05) times increased rate of relapse, respectively. Conversely, a non-significant relationship was observed between EOI and relapse. Conclusions: The findings from this study confirmed the validity of EE construct in predicting schizophrenia relapse in a Pakistani sample. However, medication compliance has not been experimentally controlled and that is one of the limitations of the study

Access source material through DOI

Chinese family caregivers of stroke survivors: Determinants of caregiving burden within the first six months

Aims and Objectives: To describe the family caregivers' caregiving experience for stroke survivors and to identify the determinants of caregiving burden over 6 months.; Background: Sociocultural factors influence the caregiving experience in China. However, little is known about the dynamic changes occurring in Chinese caregivers' burden and its determinants.; Design: This is a prospective longitudinal study.; Methods: A total of 328 participants (164 stroke survivors and 164 family caregivers) from the neurological units of three hospitals in Shiyan were examined during a 6-month period at 1-2 days before discharge (T1) and 3 weeks (T2), 3 months (T3) and 6 months (T4) postdischarge using the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, Caregiver Strain Index and the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression.; Results: Of the 209 dyads recruited, 164 completed all data collection phases, with 69% of the female caregivers aged 56.04 (SD = 4.0; range = 22-80) years. Caregivers reported higher mean burden at T1 (7.35 ± 2.9) but slightly decreased over time at T4 (6.34 ± 3.4), had borderline mean depressive symptoms only in T1 (9.71 ± 3.2) and T2 (9.02 ± 3.8) and had moderate mean social support throughout the 6-month period. Determinants of caregiving burden were stroke survivors' physical dependence, caregivers' age, caring hours per day, depressive symptoms and social support, which explained 46.8%-55.0% of the total variance (p < .05).; Conclusion: Caregivers' burden remains a serious problem in the first 6 months. It is an increasing hazard, especially for those at an advanced age who have depressive symptoms and care for severely dependent stroke survivors requiring more caring hours.; Relevance To Clinical Practice: Nurses need to be aware of and understand caregivers' cultural values and beliefs about family obligations when considering an intervention to support them in their role at home.; © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Access source material through DOI

How continuity of care is experienced within the context of integrated palliative care: A qualitative study with patients and family caregivers in five European countries

Background: Patients with advanced diseases often experience deficient continuity of care. Although integrated palliative care promotes continuity of care, it is not clear how it can be optimized to improve continuity of care experiences.; Aim: To examine how relational, informational and management continuity of care are experienced by patients with advanced diseases and their family caregivers receiving care from several integrated palliative care initiatives in five European countries.; Design: We adopted a longitudinal qualitative study design including two interviews (interval 3 months) with patients and family caregivers focusing on how health care professionals responded to their needs. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Analysis involved a two-step qualitative content approach.; Setting/participants: A total of 22 integrated palliative care initiatives (established local palliative care collaborations) were selected in Belgium, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. We recruited 152 patients (63% cancer, 24% chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 13% heart failure; life expectancy <1 year; mean age 68 years, 56% female) and 92 family caregivers (mean age 61 years, 66% female).; Results: Trusted relationships with a small number of key health care professionals to receive tailored care and easily access help were essential. Relational continuity was often deficient, especially with general practitioners. Although informational and management continuity was often lacking in care provision, collaborative integrated palliative care initiatives were related to consistent and coherent care.; Conclusion: Patients and family caregivers most likely experience continuity of care by having a small number of trusted health care professionals who are available, provide multidisciplinary care and regularly transfer information to all health care professionals involved. Optimizing continuity of care requires further integration of integrated palliative care initiatives with other health care professionals involved in the patients' care networks.

Access source material through DOI

Does group intervention have benefits on expressed emotion and social support in carers of persons with first episode psychosis?

Family interventions in chronic psychosis are well established through systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Such reviews report that family intervention might reduce relapse and improve compliance with medication and reduction in levels of expressed emotion (EE). However, most of the previous research has been conducted in caregivers with chronic schizophrenia, and the effects of family interventions in the early stages are largely unknown. Using a quasi-experimental nonequivalent comparison group design, we evaluated the effectiveness of a 7-session group intervention among 59 caregivers of patients with first episode psychosis. Outcome variables measured were carers’ EE and social support. Carers were recruited from inpatient psychiatry units of a tertiary mental health center in South India. Follow-up assessments were carried out after one and three months of intervention. Descriptive and inferential statistics were applied to the data. Carers in the intervention group reported reduction of EE and improvements in social support at a one-month follow-up assessment. However, these benefits were not sustained at the three-month follow-up. Overall, both groups showed significant changes in all outcome variables over the time period. 

Access source material through DOI

The long-term consequences of partnership dissolution for support in later life in the United Kingdom

There has long been an interest in the United Kingdom about whether and how changes in family life affect support for older people, but nevertheless the consequences of partnership dissolution for late-life support have been little researched. Using data from the British Household Panel Study (1991–2003), this study investigated the longitudinal association between partnership dissolution and two types of support for 1,966 people aged 70 or more years: (i) informal support from children in the form of contacts and help (e.g. household assistance including care), and (ii) formal support from community care services (i.e. health visitor or district nurse, home-help and meals-on-wheels). The paper also examines the level of reported support among: (i) all parents aged 70 or more years and (ii) 1,453 unpartnered parents in the same age group (i.e. those lacking the most important source of support in later life: a spouse). We found diversity in the experience of partnership dissolution in the past lives of people aged 70 or more years. Patterns of support varied by the respondent's age, whether partnered, the timing and type of partnership dissolution, and by gender, having a daughter and health status. Overall, however, partnership dissolution did not show the expected detrimental relationship with later-life support. Health needs and increasing age were strongly associated with increases in contact and informal and formal help, regardless of family history.

Access source material through DOI

Predictors of entering 24-h care for people with Alzheimer's disease: results from the LASER-AD study

OBJECTIVES: Many studies have investigated predictors of people with dementia entering 24-h care but this is the first to consider a comprehensive range of carer and care recipient (CR) characteristics derived from a systematic review, in a longitudinal cohort study followed up for several years.

METHODS: We interviewed 224 people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and their carers, recruited to be representative in terms of their severity, sex and living situation as part of the LASER-AD study; and determined whether they entered 24-h care in the subsequent 4.5 years. We tested a comprehensive range of characteristics derived from a systematic review, and used Cox proportional hazard regression to determine whether they independently predicted entering 24-h care.

RESULTS: The main independent predictors of shorter time to enter 24-h care were the patient being: more cognitively or functionally impaired (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.09; 95% CI = 1.06-1.12) and (HR = 1.04 95% CI = 1.03-1.05), having a paid versus a family carer (HR = 2.22; 95% CI = 1.39-3.57), the carer being less educated (HR = 1.43; 95% CI = 1.12-1.83) and spending less hours caring (HR = 1.01; 95% CI = 1.00-1.01).

CONCLUSION: As having a family carer who spent more time caring (taking into account illness severity) delayed entry to 24-h care, future research should investigate how to enable carers to provide this. Other interventions to improve patients' impairment may not only have benefits for patients' health but also allow them to remain longer at home. This financial benefit could more than offset the treatment cost. Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Access source material through DOI

Informal caring in England and Wales - Stability and transition between 2001 and 2011

Informal caring is of significant and increasing importance in the context of an ageing population, growing pressures on public finances, and increasing life expectancy at older ages. A growing body of research has examined the characteristics associated with informal care provision, as well as the impact of caring for the carer's physical and mental health, and their economic activity. However, only a relatively small body of literature has focused on the study of ‘repeat’ or continuous caring over time, and the factors associated with such trajectories. In 2001, for the first time, the United Kingdom census asked about provision of informal care, enabling identification of the prevalence of informal caregiving at a national level. This paper follows up informal carers from the 2001 Census in order to examine their characteristics and circumstances 10 years later using a nationally representative 1% sample of linked census data for England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study. The analysis classifies the range of possible combinations of caring and non-caring roles between 2001 and 2011, focusing on the characteristics of those who were providing care at one, or both, time points. Among other results, the analysis identified that, among those who were carers in 2001, caring again in, or continuing to care until, 2011 was associated with being female, aged between 45 and 54 years in 2011, looking after the home, and providing care for 50 hours or more per week in 2001. Such results contribute to our understanding of a particular group of informal carers and provide a more nuanced picture of informal care provision at different stages of the life course.

Access source material through DOI

Coping with newly diagnosed upper gastrointestinal cancer: a longitudinal qualitative study of family caregivers' role perception and supportive care needs

Background: Family caregivers of patients with poor prognosis upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancers are at high risk of experiencing psychological distress and carer burden. The early postoperative period is a time of high patient care needs and transition of care, with carers new to the caring role. This study aimed to explore the experiences of family caregivers of people diagnosed with upper GI cancer after surgical intervention to (1) identify their unmet supportive care needs and (2) investigate how family caregivers perceive their role during this time.

Methods: Family caregivers of newly diagnosed postsurgical upper GI cancer patients were recruited. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted at 3 weeks and 3 months post-surgery. Analysis involved a constant comparative approach. Sampling was discontinued when information redundancy was achieved. Fifteen family caregivers participated in the first interview and eight agreed to a second interview.

Results: Family caregivers reported significant information and support needs. Family caregiver distress was exacerbated by a lack of patient care knowledge. Access to support was limited by caregivers’ lack of understanding of the health system. Family caregivers view their role as part of their family responsibility.

Conclusions: This study provides new insight into the supportive care needs of family caregivers of upper GI cancer patients and the impact of unmet need on the emotional well-being of family caregivers. These results will inform future supportive care service development and intervention research aimed at reducing unmet supportive care needs and psychological distress of family caregivers of patients with poor prognosis upper GI cancer

Access source material through DOI

Trends in health outcomes for family caregivers of hip-fractured elders during the first 12 months after discharge

Aim.  This article reports on trends in health outcomes for family caregivers of hip-fractured patients and the effects of social support on these outcomes.

Background.  Little is known about the impact of caregiving on the health outcomes of family caregivers of patients with hip fracture.

Method.  For this prospective, correlational study, data were collected from 135 family caregivers of hip-fractured elders (2001–2005). Data on health-related quality of life and social support were collected from family caregivers at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months after discharge of the older hip-fractured patient.

Findings.  During the 12 months after the patients’ discharge, family caregivers’ scores improved significantly in role performance-related scales, including bodily pain, social function, role limitations due to emotional problems and role limitations due to physical problems. However, caregivers’ scores for general health and mental health were significantly lower at 12 months [59·91 (sd = 24·54) and 65·91 (sd = 14·36) respectively] than at 1 month after discharge [64·35 (sd = 23·29) and 67·94 (sd = 18·47) respectively]. The trends for most subscale scores for health-related quality of life were positively related to perceived availability of social support.

Conclusions.  Caring for a hip-fractured older family member over a sustained period may enhance family caregivers’ role performance, but have a negative impact on their perceived general health and mental health. These results suggest that home care nurses should develop interventions early after discharge to assess and improve family caregivers’ health perception, mental health and social support.

Access source material through DOI

Are caregiving responsibilities associated with non-attendance at breast screening?

Background: Previous research showed that deprived individuals are less likely to attend breast screening and those providing intense amounts of informal care tend to be more deprived than non-caregivers. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between informal caregiving and uptake of breast screening and to determine if socio-economic gradients in screening attendance were explained by caregiving responsibilities.

Methods: A database of breast screening histories was linked to the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study, which links information from census, vital events and health registration datasets. The cohort included women aged 47 - 64 at the time of the census eligible for breast screening in a three-year follow-up period. Cohort attributes were recorded at the Census. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between informal caregiving and uptake of screening using STATA version 10.

Results: 37,211 women were invited for breast screening of whom 27,909 (75%) attended; 23.9% of the cohort were caregivers. Caregivers providing <20 hours of care/week were more affluent, while those providing >50 hours/week were more deprived than non-caregivers. Deprived women were significantly less likely to attend breast screening; however, this was not explained by caregiving responsibilities as caregivers were as likely as non-caregivers to attend (Odds Ratio 0.97; 95% confidence intervals 0.88, 1.06).

Conclusions: While those providing the most significant amounts of care tended to be more deprived, caregiving responsibilities themselves did not explain the known socio-economic gradients in breast screening attendance. More work is required to identify why more deprived women are less likely to attend breast screening.

Access source material through DOI

Transitions to informal care in Great Britain during the 1990s

Objectives: To estimate annual changes and trends in the population of informal carers and to investigate transitions to caregiving by age, gender, locus of care, and level of involvement.

Design: Longitudinal analysis of data from the British household panel survey, 1991 to 1998, an annual prospective survey of a nationally representative sample of more than 5000 private households in England, Scotland, and Wales.

Subjects: Over 9000 adults over 16 years interviewed personally in successive waves of the survey, including around 1300 informal carers each year.

Results: One third of co-resident carers and 40% of extra-resident carers start caregiving each year and similar proportions cease to provide care. Five year period rates are at least 75% higher than the one year prevalence estimates. Almost everyone is involved in caregiving at one time or another and over half are likely to provide 20 hours or more care per week at some point in their lives. Recent trends indicate that more adults are becoming heavily involved in providing longer episodes of care. Although the onset of caregiving peaks in late middle and early older age, above average incidences span three decades or more of adult life. Age variations in the start of caring relationships are driven by the changing demands for care within and between generations over the life course. There is no firm evidence that carers increase their involvement in caring activities over the first three years of a caring episode.

Conclusions: The population of carers is constantly changing as some people stop providing care and others take on a caring role or vary their level of involvement. Policy measures responsive to the diversity of caring roles, and geared around key transitions, are likely to be most effective in supporting carers through changing circumstances. Recognition and support for carers who are heavily involved in caring activities from the outset should be a priority.

Access source material through DOI

The demographic characteristics and economic activity patterns of carers over 50: evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Studies on informal care provision have often focused on the provision of care for persons with a long term physical or mental ill-health or disability, or problems related to old age. However, the provision of care and support more broadly, for example in the form of childcare for grandchildren, can also impact on various aspects of a carer's life, such as their employment (if under the state retirement age), lifetime earnings and, by extension, pension income in later life. This article uses data from Wave 3 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) to explore the demographic characteristics, caring patterns, health status and economic activity patterns of carers aged over 50 in England. The results suggest that the nature of care provision differs across age groups, and that caring can be quite a different experience for older men and women. This article also sheds light on the characteristics of ‘round-the-clock’ carers, a relatively under-researched group which makes up just over one fifth of all carers aged 50 and over.

This article uses data from Wave 3 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) to explore the demographic characteristics, caring patterns, health status and economic activity patterns of carers aged over 50 in England.

Access source material through DOI

Family Caregivers, Their Needs, and Home-based Palliative Cancer Services

The focus of this four-stage, longitudinal, qualitative, and quantitative study was to explore, from the caregivers perspective, the impact of caring for a person with a diagnosis of terminal cancer, in order to improve the planning and coordination of home-based hospice services in Australia. Caregivers identified five primary-care needs relating to lack of information and ineffective communication with health professionals, inadequate emotional support, the need for assistance with physical care and household tasks, support for caregiver health and social wellbeing, and financial issues. The extent to which current service provision met each of these needs varied. The findings of this study suggest that if palliative care is to be shifted to the home environment, improvement in services concerned with providing support for family caregivers is essential if existing guidelines for palliative care provision are to be met.

Access source material through DOI

Family caregiver knowledge of treatment intent in a longitudinal study of patients with advanced cancer

Goals of work: Caregivers have become part of a triad of care and frequently attend patient consultations in the ambulatory cancer setting. Effective caregiving and decision making require that they understand the course of the disease and the changing treatment goals. This study sought to evaluate caregiver perception of treatment intent.

Patients and methods: A cohort of 317 subjects (181 patients and 136 caregivers) from The Canberra Hospital's Cancer Services were followed for 6 months. Caregiver understanding of patient treatment intent was measured over time together with sources of information.

Main results: Most caregivers understood that the illness was life-threatening (92% at week 12) and that treatment goals were to control illness and improve quality of life. Only half understood that treatment was noncurative (48% at week 12); 27% were unsure and 25% believed that treatment would cure. A high proportion of caregivers identified the specialist as the source of information (77%) and almost half also included the general practitioner (47%). These figures remained fairly constant over time. There were significant gender and age differences in understanding. At baseline, more women than men had an accurate perception of treatment intent and these numbers increased over time. Men's perception did not change.

Conclusions: Caregivers' ability to fully engage in the task of caring for those with a terminal illness may be hampered by their lack of understanding of the treatment patients receive.

Access source material through DOI

Dying from cancer in developed and developing countries: lessons from two qualitative interview studies of patients and their carers

Objective: To describe the experiences of illness and needs and use of services in two groups of patients with incurable cancer, one in a developed country and the other in a developing country.

Design: Scotland: longitudinal study with qualitative interviews. Kenya: cross sectional study with qualitative interviews.

Settings: Lothian region, Scotland, and Meru District, Kenya.

Participants: Scotland: 20 patients with inoperable lung cancer and their carers. Kenya: 24 patients with common advanced cancers and their main informal carers.

Main outcome measures: Descriptions of experiences, needs, and available services.

Results: 67 interviews were conducted in Scotland and 46 in Kenya. The emotional pain of facing death was the prime concern of Scottish patients and their carers, while physical pain and financial worries dominated the lives of Kenyan patients and their carers. In Scotland, free health and social services (including financial assistance) were available, but sometimes underused. In Kenya, analgesia, essential equipment, suitable food, and assistance in care were often inaccessible and unaffordable, resulting in considerable unmet physical needs. Kenyan patients thought that their psychological, social, and spiritual needs were met by their families, local community, and religious groups. Some Scottish patients thought that such non-physical needs went unmet.

Conclusions: In patients living in developed and developing countries there are differences not only in resources available for patients dying from cancer but also in their lived experience of illness. The expression of needs and how they are met in different cultural contexts can inform local assessment of needs and provide insights for initiatives in holistic cancer care.

Access source material through DOI

Care-giving as a Canadian-Vietnamese tradition: 'it's like eating, you just do it'

The objective of this study was to examine how Vietnamese family caregivers (FCGs) perceive, manage and experience end-of-life care-giving for seriously ill family members. Using an instrumental case study design, this longitudinal qualitative research employed the use of cultural brokers/language interpreters to help ensure that the research was conducted in a culturally-appropriate manner. Participants (n = 18) discussed their experiences of care-giving within the context of a traditional cultural framework, which was found to influence their motivations and approaches to care-giving, as well as their propensities towards the use of various supports and services. The study was carried out in southern Ontario, Canada, and participants were providing home-based care-giving in the community. Data were collected throughout 2010 and 2011. The ways in which care-giving was perceived and expressed are reflected in three themes: (i) Natural: identity and care work; (ii) Intentional: whole-person care; and (iii) Intensive: standards, struggle and the context of care. This research confirms the need for culturally-appropriate services and supports while illustrating that Vietnamese FCGs not only value, but are also likely to use healthcare and social services if they are language-accessible, built on trust and demonstrate respect for their values as individuals, regardless of culture.

Access source material through DOI
Original source (some source materials require subscription or permission to access)

Case management in primary palliative care is associated more strongly with organisational than with patient characteristics: results from a cross-sectional prospective study

Background: Case managers have been introduced in Dutch primary palliative care; these are nurses with expertise in palliative care who offer support to patients and informal carers in addition to the care provided by the general practitioner and home care nurses. This study aims to describe support and investigate what characteristics of patients and the organizational setting are related to the number of contacts and to the number of times topics are discussed between the case manager and patients and/or informal carers.

Methods: Prospective study following cancer patients (n = 662) receiving support from a palliative care case manager in Dutch primary care, using registration forms filled out by the case manager after contact with the patient and/or informal carer. In backward linear regression, the association was studied between patient or organizational characteristics and the number of contacts and the number of times conversation topics were discussed.

Results: Organizational characteristics add more to explained variability in data than patient characteristics. Case managers provide support in a flexible manner with regard to the number, mode, persons present, and duration of contacts. Support covered all domains of palliative care, with most attention given to physical complaints, life expectancy and psychological aspects.

Conclusions: Support offered by the case managers is prompted by characteristics of the organization for which they work. This is contradictory to the idea of patient centered care highly valued in palliative care.

Access source material through DOI

Palliative Care in chronic Kidney diSease: the PACKS study--quality of life, decision making, costs and impact on carers in people managed without dialysis

Background: The number of patients with advanced chronic kidney disease opting for conservative management rather than dialysis is unknown but likely to be growing as increasingly frail patients with advanced renal disease present to renal services. Conservative kidney management includes ongoing medical input and support from a multidisciplinary team. There is limited evidence concerning patient and carer experience of this choice. This study will explore quality of life, symptoms, cognition, frailty, performance decision making, costs and impact on carers in people with advanced chronic kidney disease managed without dialysis and is funded by the National Institute of Health Research in the UK.

Methods: In this prospective, multicentre, longitudinal study, patients will be recruited in the UK, by renal research nurses, once they have made the decision not to embark on dialysis. Carers will be asked to ‘opt-in’ with consent from patients. The approach includes longitudinal quantitative surveys of quality of life, symptoms, decision making and costs for patients and quality of life and costs for carers, with questionnaires administered quarterly over 12 months. Additionally, the decision making process will be explored via qualitative interviews with renal physicians/clinical nurse specialists.

Discussion: The study is designed to capture patient and carer profiles when conservative kidney management is implemented, and understand trajectories of care-receiving and care-giving with the aim of optimising palliative care for this population. It will explore the interactions that lead to clinical care decisions and the impact of these decisions on informal carers with the intention of improving clinical outcomes for patients and the experiences of care givers.

Access source material through DOI

The effects of ill health and informal care roles on the employment retention of mid-life women: Does the workplace matter?

This article uses longitudinal data to measure the effects of ill health and informal care roles on the employment chances of mid-life women, and to examine how these effects are mediated by workplace characteristics. We find that women in jobs with lower skills/status encounter the greatest difficulty in finding accommodations for changes in their health and informal care roles. We identify an important role for paid sick leave and holiday leave in boosting employment retention. However, we find that the positive employment effects of permanent contracts do not extend to women experiencing increased informal care roles. Additionally, we do not identify a positive link between employment retention and flexible working time arrangements. However, we do establish a link between a preference for reduced working hours and employment cessation, suggesting that some women experience problems in achieving flexible working hours and that this causes some of them to leave work altogether. We argue that these findings are relevant to the design of policy initiatives aimed at lifting rates of workforce participation as part of the response to population ageing.

Access source material through DOI

Recruiting older people into a large, community-based study of heart failure

This paper highlights some of the challenges encountered when recruiting older people with heart failure into longitudinal, community-based research. It draws on the experience gained in a study to provide insights into the palliative care needs of older people with heart failure and the timing and need for service interventions. Five hundred and forty-two people with heart failure (New York Heart Association (NYHA) stages II-IV) and 213 of their informal carers were recruited from primary care practices in four areas of the UK. Ethical issues arising around gate-keeping, terminology and participant burden are discussed along with challenges faced during the recruitment process. Strategies to increase general practitioner and patient recruitment are provided. The paper concludes that prospective longitudinal studies are of particular relevance to chronic illness, and the complexity of setting up such research must be acknowledged and appropriately resourced.

Access source material through DOI

A systematic review of instruments related to family caregivers of palliative care patients

Support for family caregivers is a core function of palliative care. However, there is a lack of consistency in the way needs are assessed, few longitudinal studies to examine the impact of caregiving, and a dearth of evidence-based interventions. In order to help redress this situation, identification of suitable instruments to examine the caregiving experience and the effectiveness of interventions is required. A systematic literature review was undertaken incorporating representatives of the European Association for Palliative Care’s International Palliative Care Family Caregiver Research Collaboration and Family Carer Taskforce. The aim of the review was to identify articles that described the use of instruments administered to family caregivers of palliative care patients (pre and post-bereavement). Fourteen of the 62 instruments targeted satisfaction with service delivery and less than half were developed specifically for the palliative care context. In approximately 25% of articles psychometric data were not reported. Where psychometric results were reported, validity data were reported in less than half (42%) of these cases. While a considerable variety of instruments have been administered to family caregivers, the validity of some of these requires further consideration. We recommend that others be judicious before developing new instruments for this population.

Access source material through DOI

Are informal caregivers less happy than noncaregivers? Happiness and the intensity of caregiving in combination with paid and voluntary work

Informal caregivers are one of the pillars of home health care. In the Netherlands, the free help they provide to sick or disabled family members, acquaintances or friends exceeds the number of hours of home care provided by professionals. While the government welcomes their contribution, there is concern about the potential burden their work imposes on them. On the one hand, there is concern that informal caregiving could be experienced as a burden and diminish subjective well-being; on the other, helping others as a meaningful activity might increase their subjective well-being. Happiness ratings (as an indicator of subjective well-being) of persons whose involvement in informal caregiving, voluntary work and paid work ranged from none to full time were analysed using multivariate regression models, which also took into account levels of physical disability and socio-economic characteristics (age, sex, household composition, education level). The sample consisted of 336 informal caregivers and 1765 noncaregivers in the Dutch population. In line with the subjective well-being assumption, the results suggest that caregivers are happier than noncaregivers when they provide care for <6 hours a week; and in line with the burden assumption, the results show that providing care for more than 11 hours a week is associated with lower levels of happiness. Other results contradicted the burden assumption that combining caregiving with paid or voluntary work is associated with more time burden and less happiness. The result that combining caregiving with paid employment or volunteering is related to higher rates of happiness confirms the subjective well-being assumption. It is concluded that these cross-sectional results open ways to longitudinal research that can inform governments in the development of policies to support informal caregivers.

Access source material through DOI

Self-efficacy and health-related quality of life in family carers of people with dementia: a systematic review

Objectives: This review aims to explore the role of self-efficacy (SE) in the health-related quality of life (QoL) of family carers of people with dementia.

Methods: A systematic review of literature identified a range of qualitative and quantitative studies. Search terms related to caring, SE, and dementia. Narrative synthesis was adopted to synthesise the findings.

Results: Twenty-two studies met the full inclusion criteria, these included 17 quantitative, four qualitative, and one mixed-method study. A model describing the role of task/domain-specific SE beliefs in family carer health-related QoL was constructed. This model was informed by review findings and discussed in the context of existing conceptual models of carer adaptation and empirical research. Review findings offer support for the application of the SE theory to caring and for the two-factor view of carer appraisals and well-being. Findings do not support the independence of the negative and positive pathways. The review was valuable in highlighting methodological challenges confronting this area of research, particularly the conceptualisation and measurement issues surrounding both SE and health-related QoL.

Conclusions: The model might have theoretical implications in guiding future research and advancing theoretical models of caring. It might also have clinical implications in facilitating the development of carer support services aimed at improving SE. The review highlights the need for future research, particularly longitudinal research, and further exploration of domain/task-specific SE beliefs, the influence of carer characteristics, and other mediating/moderating variables.

Access source material through DOI

Family carers’ distress and abusive behaviour: longitudinal study

Background A third of family carers of people with dementia report abusive behaviour towards the person for whom they are caring. This is the first longitudinal study to investigate such behaviour. Aims To test our hypotheses that carers’ reports of abusive behaviour would increase over time, and that change in abuse scores would be predicted by change in anxiety and depression scores. Method In total, 131 (71.6%) of the family/friend dementia carers consecutively recruited from new referrals to Essex and London community mental health teams who were interviewed at baseline, completed the revised Modified Conflict Tactics Scale to measure abuse 1 year later.

Results Sixty-three (48.1%) of the carers reported any abusive behaviour at baseline compared with 81 (61.8%) a year later (χ2 = 6.9, P = 0.009). An increase in abuse scores was predicted by an increase in anxiety and depressive symptoms (respectively β = 0.32, t = 3.9, P<0.001 and β = 0.24, t = 2.9, P = 0.005), and by less domiciliary care at baseline (β = –0.18, t = –2.2, P = 0.031).

Conclusions Most abusive behaviour reported by carers at baseline persisted or worsened in the following year, despite contact with specialist services. We suggest that trials of psychological interventions shown to reduce anxiety and depression in the carers of people with dementia are needed to determine whether they also reduce elder abuse, and can be delivered cost-effectively within the National Health Service (NHS).

Access source material through DOI
Original source (some source materials require subscription or permission to access)

Is cancer care dependent on informal carers?

Over the past half century, medical care has become less institutionalised, more autonomous, equitable and less costly. This has led to a shift from hospital-based delivery to community care. This paper examines the experiences of Canberra-based carers following this shift using interview data from a longitudinal qualitative study of 32 informal carers of a spouse with cancer. Cancer patients experienced poorly coordinated care. When carers observed the effects of errors and miscommunication on patients, they felt compelled to coordinate patient care. Interview data suggest that informal carers of cancer patients are relied upon to manage patient care at home and in hospitals, but are not supported in undertaking this responsibility. This implies that carers should be a far more central focus in cancer care reform strategies.

Access source material through DOI

Caring for family members with chronic physical illness: a critical review of caregiver literature

This article reviews 19 studies (1987–2004) on quality of life for family caregivers helping those with chronic physical illness. Here we explore the concepts of and instruments used to measure caregivers' quality of life. We were particularly interested in understanding stress-related variables and documenting factors influencing quality of life based on family stress theory. Findings show that various positive and negative terms equated with quality of life were used to measure them. Results indicate that stress-related variables as possible predictors influencing caregivers' quality of life include: patient and caregiver characteristics, stressors, stress appraisal, stress coping methods, and social support. Our recommendations touch upon applying theory for intervention, developing measurement, making operable the concepts for measuring, and the need for longitudinal and comprehensive study.

Original source (some source materials require subscription or permission to access)

The relationship between informal caregiving and mortality: an analysis using the ONS Longitudinal Study of England and Wales

BACKGROUND: Many studies have suggested that caregiving has a detrimental impact on health. However, these conclusions are challenged by research which finds evidence of a comparative survivorship advantage, as well as work which controls for group differences in the demand for care.

METHODS: We use a large record linkage study of England and Wales to investigate the mortality risks of carers identified in the 2001 Census. The analysis focuses on individuals aged 35-74 living with others in private households and a distinction is made between those providing 1-19 and 20 or more hours of care per week. Logit models identify differences in carers' health at baseline and postcensal survival is analysed using Cox proportional hazards models.

RESULTS: 12.2% of study members reported providing 1-19 h of care and 5.4% reported providing 20 or more hours. While carers were significantly more likely to report poorer health at baseline, survival analyses suggested that they were at a significantly lower risk of dying. This comparative advantage also held when the analyses were restricted to individuals living with at least one person with poor health.

CONCLUSIONS: The comparative mortality advantage revealed in this analysis challenges common characterisations of carers' health and draws attention to important differences in the way carers are defined in existing analyses. The survival results are consistent with work using similar data for Northern Ireland. However, the study also affords more uniform conclusions about carers' baseline health and this provides grounds for questioning existing hypotheses about the reasons for this advantage.

Access source material through DOI

Living and dying with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: multi-perspective longitudinal qualitative study

Objectives To understand the perspectives of people with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as their illness progresses, and of their informal and professional carers, to inform provision of care for people living and dying with COPD.

Design Up to four serial qualitative interviews were conducted with each patient and nominated carer over 18 months. Interviews were transcribed and analysed both thematically and as narratives.

Participants 21 patients, and 13 informal carers (a family member, friend, or neighbour) and 18 professional carers (a key health or social care professional) nominated by the patients.

Setting Primary and secondary care in Lothian, Tayside, and Forth Valley, Scotland, during 2007-9.

Results Eleven patients died during the study period. Our final dataset comprised 92 interviews (23 conducted with patient and informal carer together). Severe symptoms that caused major disruption to normal life were described, often in terms implying acceptance of the situation as a “way of life” rather than an “illness.” Patients and their informal carers adapted to and accepted the debilitating symptoms of a lifelong condition. Professional carers' familiarity with the patients' condition, typically over many years, and prognostic uncertainty contributed to the difficulty of recognising and actively managing end stage disease. Overall, patients told a “chaos narrative” of their illness that was indistinguishable from their life story, with no clear beginning and an unanticipated end described in terms comparable with attitudes to death in a normal elderly population.

Conclusions Our findings challenge current assumptions underpinning provision of end of life care for people with COPD. The policy focus on identifying a time point for transition to palliative care has little resonance for people with COPD or their clinicians and is counter productive if it distracts from early phased introduction of supportive care. Careful assessment of possible supportive and palliative care needs should be triggered at key disease milestones along a lifetime journey with COPD, in particular after hospital admission for an exacerbation.

Access source material through DOI

Transitions into informal caregiving and out of paid employment of women in their 50s

Data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health were used to study the order of events leading to informal caregiving and changes in labour force participation in mid-aged women, taking into account health and socioeconomic status. This analysis included 9857 women who responded to the third (2001) and fourth (2004) surveys and provided data for the caring and employment variables used. Caring was defined as providing care for an ill, frail or disabled person at least 7 h/wk. Between 2001 and 2004, the proportion of women caring increased from 12 to 14%. Paid employment participation decreased from 67 to 62% in 2004. Logistic regression model results show that taking up caring between 2001 and 2004 was not statistically significantly associated with employment status in 2001. Among women who took up caring, however, hours spent in paid employment in 2001 was negatively associated with hours spent caring in 2004. Amongst women working in 2001, taking up caring between 2001 and 2004 was associated with reduced participation in paid employment.

In conclusion, among mid-aged women, transitions into caregiving were irrespective of time spent in paid employment, but were followed by a decrease in labour force participation. Policies could aim to support continuing labour force participation during caregiving by creating flexible working arrangements; re-employment programs could support women who quit work in getting back to paid employment after a period of caregiving.

Access source material through DOI

The impact of caring for those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on carers' psychological well-being: a narrative review

Objective: To identify and summarise studies of the psychological well-being of informal carers of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Design: The review included studies if they reported the carers perspective of caregiving – studies that focused mostly on the person with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were included only if the carers perspective of the caregiver role could be extracted.

Data sources: Electronic searches of MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsychInfo, Sociological Abstracts and The Cochrane Library were carried out between December 2008 and February 2009, with update searches undertaken in June 2011.

Review methods: A narrative approach was adopted to evaluate studies according to their contribution and drew together evidence from a range of methodologies, including qualitative and quantitative studies.

Results: Twenty studies were included in this review. Twelve studies focuses only on the caregiver (quantitative studies = 7 and qualitative studies = 5) and eight included caregivers and the person with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (quantitative = 6 and qualitative = 2). Common methodological limitations of studies included in this review were a lack of non-caregiver age-matched comparison groups, focus on the experience of female carers, small sample sizes, and failure to follow-up caregivers longitudinally. Seven studies provided estimates of the prevalence of psychological distress among caregivers but no conclusions could be drawn from the current evidence base. The totality of the current evidence-base suggests that many factors are related to caregiver psychological distress, but it is not possible to gauge the prevalence of this at present.

Conclusion: Further studies are needed to clarify the prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caregivers’ psychological comorbidity and disease specific factors that predict poorer carer health outcomes. That work will enable appropriate interventions to be developed and evaluated.

Access source material through DOI

Unpaid carers' access to and use of primary care services

General medical practitioners (GPs) and members of the primary care team have a pivotal role in supporting unpaid carers in their caring role and helping them to maintain their own health and well-being. This paper investigates the difference that caregiving makes to individuals’ access to and use of GP and primary care services. It is based on longitudinal analysis of carers’ contacts with GPs, and a review of the literature including evaluations of measures to improve primary-care-based support for carers. Men increase their consultation rates with GPs when taking on a caring role. In contrast, women who look after someone in the same household and carry heavy caring responsibilities have relatively less contact with GPs than expected. According to the literature, carers report a range of difficulties accessing primary health care. A five-fold typology is described covering barriers arising from: professional responses to the carers’ role; the way services are organized and delivered; language or culturally held beliefs and practices; carer or care recipient characteristics; and unmet information needs. Various measures to improve carers’ access to primary care have been introduced to overcome these barriers, but robust evidence of cost and utility is required to judge their acceptability and effectiveness for both carers and GPs. Although good practice guides, quality standards and evaluation tools are available to help improve primary care support for carers, further investigation of carers’ help-seeking for health care, and the factors involved, is required to underpin the prospects for developing a genuine partnership between unpaid carers and health professionals.

Access source material through DOI

Participation in socially-productive activities, reciprocity and wellbeing in later life : baseline results in England

This paper examines whether participation in social activities is associated with higher levels of wellbeing among post-retirement age people in England, and, if so, whether these relationships are explained by the reciprocal nature of these activities. Cross-sectional analysis of relationships between social activities (including paid work, caring and volunteering) and wellbeing (quality of life, life satisfaction and depression) was conducted among participants of one wave of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) who were of state pension age or older. Participants in paid or voluntary work generally had more favourable wellbeing than those who did not participate in these activities. Caring was not associated with wellbeing, although female carers were less likely to be depressed than non-carers. Carers, volunteers and those in paid work who felt adequately rewarded for their activities had better wellbeing than those who were not participating in those activities, while those who did not feel rewarded did not differ from non-participants. These results point to the need to increase the rewards that older people receive from their productive activities, particularly in relation to caring work.

Access source material through DOI

When Harry met Barry, and other stories: a partner's influence on relationships in back pain care

This study forms part of a longitudinal investigation of pain, disability and health care use in primary care low back pain consulters. Sixteen purposively sampled patients and their health care professionals were interviewed about experiences with back pain and their therapeutic relationships. This case study draws on the accounts of one patient, his wife, and three health care professionals and explores the role of the informal carer in back pain care. The interview with the patient and his wife highlights the dynamics of a co-constructed narrative of back pain. The joint narrative is fundamentally supportive of the patient's condition, yet his wife's preference for a proactive approach to health care is undermined by the patient's unquestioning respect for health professionals. In addition, the patient's limited expression—of his suffering and his feelings regarding care received—results in less beneficial care where opportunities remain unfulfilled and problems unresolved. His wife's role as narrator of his pain provokes different reactions from health professionals and these are discussed. Analysis reveals a positive and mediating role for informal carers within the provision of health care. However, the construction of the patient's limited expression in opposition to his wife as an ‘expert carer’ raises issues around these roles in the therapeutic encounter that require further exploration. To use supportive relationships effectively there is a need to better understand the interplay between the patient and carer roles, how these roles are negotiated in the health care consultation, and the possible contradictions that this poses.

Access source material through DOI

The effect of informal care on work and wages

Cross-sectional evidence in the United States finds that informal caregivers have less attachment to the labor force. The causal mechanism is unclear: do children who work less become informal caregivers, or are children who become caregivers working less? Using longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study, we identify the relationship between informal care and work in the United States, both on the intensive and extensive margins, and examine wage effects. We control for time-invariant individual heterogeneity; rule out or control for endogeneity; examine effects for men and women separately; and analyze heterogeneous effects by task and intensity. We find modest decreases—2.4 percentage points—in the likelihood of working for male caregivers providing personal care. Female chore caregivers, meanwhile, are more likely to be retired. For female care providers who remain working, we find evidence that they decrease work by 3–10 hours per week and face a 3 percent lower wage than non-caregivers. We find little effect of caregiving on working men's hours or wages. These estimates suggest that the opportunity costs to informal care providers are important to consider when making policy recommendations about the design and funding of public long-term care programs.

Access source material through DOI

A grounded theory longitudinal study of carers’ experiences of caring for people with dementia

Introduction: Increasingly the provision of care for older people with dementia has shifted from institutions to the community. This has resulted in an increase in burden and a reduction in autonomy for those who care for these individuals.

Aims: This study sought to identify, describe and explore the changes in the carers’ experiences of looking after a relative living with dementia, and the effects of caring on the carers’ autonomy and health over time.

Research Methods: A longitudinal, grounded theory approach in three phases was used. In-depth interviews were conducted with six spouses at the beginning, at six months and at eighteen months. A constant comparative analysis of taped and transcribed interviews was used.

Findings: Four categories emerged: My Life Changed, Commitment, Responsibility and Duty, and Support. The core category My Life Changed was identified as representing the beginning of the caregiving journey; and the learning from experience that occurred as a consequence of that journey, offering a new perspective on the experience of carers. Commitment refers to a deepened and sustained element; Responsibility and Duty increases over time and finally Support refers to the fluctuating nature of help provided by formal and informal sources. All participants experienced changes in the caregiving journey; the degree and nature of necessary adaptations varied.

Conclusions: A Theory of Caring emerged, but what changes were experienced did not appear to conform to any fixed pattern. All carers learned by experience to manage their situations. For all carers their autonomy and health was challenged.

Access source material through DOI

Building on carers' stories to enrich research: lessons from a recent study

This paper provides an account of how family carers were involved in a longitudinal research study that aimed to investigate the needs of ‘new’ family carers of stroke survivors. An account of how the researcher involved carers is provided, followed by one carer's description of the benefits and negative consequences of being involved in the study. Suggestions are made about how to develop good practice with regard to involving people in research. The conclusions highlight that, although rewarding, being involved in research is not without its challenges. However, research participants have much to contribute to the entire research process and its products. It is important therefore to learn lessons about how best to maximise the expertise that carers and others have to offer.

Access source material through DOI

When is a carer's employment at risk? Longitudinal analysis of unpaid care and employment in midlife in England

This article examines the thresholds at which provision of unpaid care affects employment in England. Previous research has shown that providing care for 20 or more hours a week has a negative effect on employment. The present article explores the impact of a lower threshold and asks whether provision of care for 10 or more hours a week has a negative effect on employment. The article focuses on women and men aged between 50 and State Pension Age (60 for women, 65 for men). The study uses data from the first four waves of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), collected in 2002/2003, 2004/2005, 2006/2007 and 2008/2009. Across these waves, there are 17 123 people aged 50–59/64 years, of whom 9% provide unpaid care to an adult. Using logistic regression analysis of the longitudinal data, the study finds that employed women in their fifties who start providing care for <10 hours a week are significantly more likely to remain in employment one wave later than similar women who have not started to provide care. In contrast, employed women in their fifties who start providing care for 10 or more hours a week are significantly less likely to remain in employment one wave later than similar women who have not started to provide care. Employed men aged between 50 and State Pension Age, who provide care for 10 or more hours a week at the beginning of the period have a significantly reduced employment rate one wave later than those who do not provide care. The study therefore suggests that carers’ employment may be negatively affected when care is provided at a lower intensity than is generally estimated in England. This has important implications for local authorities, who have a duty to provide services to carers whose employment is at risk.

Access source material through DOI

Development of the Motor Neuron Disease Carer Questionnaire

Our objective was to develop a validated questionnaire that can measure the extent to which dimensions of caring affect the health of carers of patients with motor neuron disease. An initial 190-item questionnaire was developed from in-depth interviews, focus groups and two pilot studies with carers. Factor analysis was applied to the data obtained from a large survey in the UK that identified the underlying dimensions of caring. The newly formed scales were tested for reliability using Cronbach's α, and for construct validity. The SF36-v2 was the benchmark instrument on which correlations were made to ascertain the relationship with carers’ health. A 34-item instrument was developed which has demonstrated promising evidence of internal reliability and validity for six scales: emotional well-being, physical well-being, self care, disturbed sleep, carers’ support needs and statutory services. High correlations were found with the Mental Component Score summary scale of the SF-36v2 (0.40–0.66). The development and testing of the MNDCQ indicates that as the carers’ score on the MNDCQ increases, suggesting a higher level of burden, they are more likely to report poor health. Further longitudinal studies are needed to further test the instruments’ ability to detect change over time.

Access source material through DOI

How do baby boomers' mobility patterns change with retirement?

Baby boomers will comprise a considerable share of tomorrow's older population. Previous research has indicated higher travel activity and car use amongst baby boomers than amongst older cohorts. However, little evidence exists on the effects of boomers' ageing on the transportation system. To analyse how retirement affects baby boomers' travel and the related future travel demand, we compared three groups, distinguished by employment status as ‘still working’, ‘early retirees’ and ‘recent retirees’, in a longitudinal setting. Data for 864 individuals were collected via standardised telephone interviews in 2009 and 2012. We find a clear tendency towards reducing the car use and mileage over time and as a consequence of retirement. Nevertheless, car use for leisure purposes increased after retirement. Whilst retirement had a bigger impact on men's than on women's car use, those women who continued working had a high car reliance that did not decline over time. This study suggests that retirement is a transition point associated with decreasing car use. Hence, the ageing of the population is likely to have a decreasing effect on transportation demand. However, informal care-giving, prolonged careers and atypical working life, boomer women's changing professional roles, and the emergence of leisure and consumption as major cultural and social frameworks of the third age are likely to make this transition different than observed in previous cohorts.

Access source material through DOI

Facilitating support groups for siblings of children with neurodevelopmental disorders using audio-conferencing: a longitudinal feasibility study

Background: Siblings of children with chronic illness and disabilities are at increased risk of negative psychological effects. Support groups enable them to access psycho-education and social support. Barriers to this can include the distance they have to travel to meet face-to-face. Audio-conferencing, whereby three or more people can connect by telephone in different locations, is an efficient means of groups meeting and warrants exploration in this healthcare context. This study explored the feasibility of audio-conferencing as a method of facilitating sibling support groups

Methods: A longitudinal design was adopted. Participants were six siblings (aged eight to thirteen years) and parents of children with complex neurodevelopmental disorders attending the Centre for Interventional Paediatric Psychopharmacology (CIPP). Four of the eight one-hour weekly sessions were held face-to-face and the other four using audio-conferencing. Pre- and post-intervention questionnaires and interviews were completed and three to six month follow-up interviews were carried out. The sessions were audio-recorded, transcribed and thematic analysis was undertaken.

Results: Audio-conferencing as a form of telemedicine was acceptable to all six participants and was effective in facilitating sibling support groups. Audio-conferencing can overcome geographical barriers to children being able to receive group therapeutic healthcare interventions such as social support and psycho-education. Psychopathology ratings increased post-intervention in some participants. Siblings reported that communication between siblings and their family members increased and siblings’ social network widened.

Conclusions: Audio-conferencing is an acceptable, feasible and effective method of facilitating sibling support groups. Siblings’ clear accounts of neuropsychiatric symptoms render them reliable informants. Systematic assessment of siblings’ needs and strengthened links between Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, school counsellors and young carers groups are warranted.

Access source material through DOI

A review of the early discharge experiences of stroke survivors and their carers

Aims and objectives.  Understanding the experiences of stroke patients and their carers during the early days following discharge from hospital is an important aspect of providing appropriate care during this crucial time.

Background.  Due to the diverse changes that can result from a stroke, adjustment to returning home may raise many issues for those involved. A review of research was undertaken with the aim of identifying what is already known about experiences at this time.

Design.  Systematic review.  Method.  Search of electronic databases.

Results.  The review revealed that recognition of the impact of stroke on patients and carers is improving, with many studies focussing on the longer-term aspects of stroke recovery. Research into the early discharge experiences of stroke patients and/or their carers is often limited to retrospective, longitudinal studies. With the continuing shift towards care in the community, patients and carers can increasingly expect more recovery to be taking place at home at an even earlier stage. Earlier discharge may have important implications for those involved. The review also highlighted that patients with aphasia have frequently been excluded from stroke research and that social roles are important aspects in stroke recovery.

Conclusions.  To prepare patients and carers better for the impact of returning home, further research is needed into their experiences at this significant time, particularly in the UK. There is also a need to facilitate the inclusion of those with aphasia in stroke research.

Relevance to clinical practice.  An improved understanding of the issues facing stroke patients and carers during their early days at home should facilitate the preparation for discharge in the hospital setting and allow more focussed follow-up services in the community.

Access source material through DOI

Caregiver Experience During Advanced Chronic Illness and Last Year of Life

Objectives To compare the prevalence and predictors of caregiver esteem and burden during two different stages of care recipients' illnesses-advanced chronic illness and the last year of life. Design Longitudinal, observational cohort study. Setting Community sample recruited from outpatient clinics at Duke University and Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. Participants Individuals with advanced cancer, congestive heart failure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and their primary caregiver, retrospectively coded as chronic-illness (n = 62) or end-of-life (EOL; n = 62) care recipient-caregiver dyads. Measurements Caregiver experience was measured monthly using the Caregiver Reaction Assessment, which includes caregiver esteem and four domains of burden: schedule, health, family, and finances. Results During chronic illness and at the end of life, high caregiver esteem was almost universal (95%); more than 25% of the sample reported health, family, and financial burden. Schedule burden was the most prevalent form of burden; EOL caregivers (58%) experienced it more frequently than chronic-illness caregivers (32%). Caregiver esteem and all dimensions of burden were relatively stable over 1 year. Few factors were associated with burden. Conclusion Caregiver experience is relatively stable over 1 year and similar in caregivers of individuals in the last year of life and those earlier in the course of chronic illness. Schedule burden stands out as most prevalent and variable among dimensions of experience. Because prevalence of burden is not specific to stage of illness and is relatively stable over time, multidisciplinary healthcare teams should assess caregiver burden and refer burdened caregivers to supportive resources early in the course of chronic illness.

Access source material through DOI

Stroke: the increasing complexity of carer needs

In Australia, more than 346,000 individuals who experience a stroke return to living in their homes with varying degrees of disability. They rely on emotional and physical support from informal carers, typically family members. Informal carers have an indispensable role in patient care poststroke, and the ability of carers to manage this role effectively is crucial for stroke survivors to be able to return home. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of the caring role on carers of stroke survivors, particularly the services provided and the levels of depression and well-being experienced. The study used a longitudinal design incorporating survey methods. Stroke survivors were assessed for functional ability, quality of life, and depression using three assessment tools: the Stroke Impact Scale, World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF scale, and Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale. A total of 26 people were surveyed: 13 stroke survivors and their 13 carers. Carer knowledge of stroke support services was also explored. Information was collected by using survey methods and structured interviews at 3 weeks and at 3 months postdischarge. The main finding was that depression scores for carers and stroke survivors were below Australian norms at both assessment time points. The major concern identified by carers was poor follow-up procedures for initiating rehabilitation in the home. This study highlighted that a lack of appropriate discharge planning, in conjunction with early discharge of stroke survivors, can have an impact on the rehabilitation process and place increased and unrealistic demands on carers.

Access source material through DOI

Does caring for your spouse harm one's health? Evidence from a United States nationally-representative sample of older adults

The purpose of this article is to investigate the relationship between spousal care-giving and declines in functioning and self-rated health among older care-givers. The authors used data from the 2000 and 2002 waves of the United States Health and Retirement Study, a biennial longitudinal survey of a nationally representative cohort of adults aged 50 or more years. Two outcomes were examined, declines in functioning and declines in self-rated health. Care-givers were classified into three groups: no care-giving, less than 14 hours of care-giving per week, and 14 or more hours care-giving per week. To assess declines in functioning, two summary scores were created of limitations in basic and instrumental Activities of Daily Living. To assess declines in self-rated health, we compared responses from 2000 and 2002. In the fully adjusted models, care-giving hours did not have an independent effect on declines in functioning or self-rated health. The relationship between care-giving hours and declines in functioning and self-rated health is probably attributable to socio-demographic characteristics, mainly age. The findings suggest that spousal care-giving does not of itself harm functional health or perceived health among older adult care-givers. Understanding the differential effects of these socio-economic characteristics with care-giving hours on health will be useful in promoting the health of older adult care-givers and treating their disorders.

Access source material through DOI

A longitudinal study of home care clients and their informal carers

The objective of the longitudinal study was to monitor physical and cognitive changes in a population of 330 older people being supported at home by health services. The participants were 75 years and older and classified as having moderate-to-high needs. A total of 210 primary informal carers were recruited to determine their specific needs and how they coped as dependency levels of their care-recipients changed. Data were collected using six different tools. Two questionnaires were mailed out to participating carers. Assessments of care recipients were carried out at three sampling points over the study period. The clients showed a significant increase in physical dependency and an overall increase in cognitive impairment over time. Only 32% of carers lived with care recipients, and changes in dependency, cognitive changes, lack of respite and performing activities of daily living were all major stressors for informal carers. The needs of informal carers are reported and discussed in the context of recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada.

Access source material through DOI

Illness careers and continuity of care in mental health services: a qualitative study of service users and carers

Continuity of care is considered by patients and clinicians as an essential feature of good quality care in long-term disorders, yet there is general agreement that it is a complex concept and the lack of clarity in its conceptualisation and operationalisation has been linked to a deficit of user involvement. In this paper we utilise the concept of the ‘patient career’ to frame patient accounts of their experiences of the mental health care system. We aimed to capture the experiences and views of users and carers focusing on the meanings associated with particular (dis)continuities and transitional episodes that occurred over their illness career. As part of a large longitudinal study of continuity of care in mental health a sub-sample of 31 users was selected together with 14 of their carers. Qualitative interviews framed around the service user's illness career explored general experiences of relationship with services, care, continuity and transition from both user and carer perspectives. Five key themes emerged: relational (dis)continuity; depersonalised transitions; invisibility and crisis; communicative gaps and social vulnerability. One of the important findings was the fragility of continuity and its relationship to levels of satisfaction. Supportive, long-term relationships could be quickly undermined by a range of factors and satisfaction levels were often closely related to moments of transition where these relationships were vulnerable. Examples of continuity and well managed transitions highlighted the importance of professionals personalising transitions and situating them in the context of the daily life of service users. Further research is required to identify how best to negotiate these key points of transition in the future.

Access source material through DOI

Factors that contribute to adult children caregivers' well-being: a scoping review

The ageing of the population will increasingly result in reliance on the family for care in the community. Existing reviews have provided insights into the needs and health outcomes of family caregivers, but are disproportionately skewed towards spousal caregivers. Presently, a large majority of family caregivers are adult children. Adult children are distinct from spousal caregivers in terms of the combination of roles they occupy and the relationship they have with the care recipient. These unique considerations can have important implications for their well-being. A growing body of literature has investigated the factors that contribute to adult children caregivers' (ACCs) well-being; however, no reviews to date have synthesised this body of literature or appraised its methodological quality. Our objective was to identify the range and types of factors that contribute to ACC well-being across studies. A scoping review was conducted. Medline, Psycinfo, EMBASE and CINAHL databases (January 1996–August, 2012) were systematically searched for studies investigating ACC well-being. Inclusion/exclusion criteria were applied, methodological quality was appraised, the data were charted and a narrative synthesis was conducted. Fifty-five studies met our inclusion criteria. Factors that contribute to ACC well-being were found to be either: (i) care recipient-related (e.g. nature of limitations, amount of care required); (ii) caregiver-related (e.g. psychological dispositions of the ACC); or (iii) socially embedded (e.g. parent–child relationship, multiple role involvement, social support available to the ACC). Socially embedded factors that contribute to ACC well-being have received the most attention in the literature. Among these factors, ACC well-being is uniquely impacted by the quality of the parent–child relationship and combination of roles occupied. The majority of studies were cross-sectional. Future studies should therefore employ a longitudinal design to inform our understanding of the changes that take place in the parent–child relationship and multiple role involvement across the care-giving trajectory.

Access source material through DOI

Longitudinal changes in the amount of informal care among publicly paid home care recipients

Purpose: This study examined how the amount of informal care received by disabled elders changes when they are receiving publicly paid home care, and whether formal service use, disability, caregiving arrangements, and demographic characteristics of older adults predict changes in the amount of informal care. Design and Methods: Hierarchical linear models were estimated, using 3-year data (12 repeated observations) collected from elderly participants (N = 888) in Michigan's Home- and Community-Based Medicaid Waiver Program. Results: The amount of informal care declined in the beginning period when publicly paid home care was received, and then it stabilized. Changes in activities and instrumental activities of daily living and caregiver residence predicted changes in the amount. The living arrangement and age of elders predicted different patterns of change over time. Neither formal service amount nor its change significantly predicted the amount of informal care. Implications:Informal caregivers do not relinquish caregiving when publicly paid home care is available. Expanding community-based long-term care is a means of fostering partnerships between formal and informal caregivers.

Access source material through DOI

The physical functioning and mental health of informal carers: evidence of care-giving impacts from an Australian population-based cohort

Informal carers represent a substantial proportion of the population in many countries and health is an important factor in their capacity to continue care-giving. This study investigated the impact of care-giving on the mental and physical health of informal carers, taking account of contextual factors, including family and work. We examined health changes from before care-giving commenced to 2 and 4 years after, using longitudinal data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey. The sample comprised 424 carers and 424 propensity score-matched non-carers. Health was self-assessed, measured with the SF-36 Health Survey Mental Health (MH) and Physical Functioning (PF) scales. Care-giving was classified as non-carer, low (<5 hours/week), moderate (5–19 hours/week) and high (20 or more hours/week). PF and MH change scores were regressed on baseline scores, care-giving, covariates (including work, family and socio-demographic characteristics) and interactions to identify impacts for subgroups. The physical and mental health impacts differed by gender, and care-giving hours and carer work hours were important contextual factors. Deterioration in both PF and MH was worse for females after 2 years and deterioration in MH was worse for males after 4 years. Among carers aged 40–64 years, there was a 17-point decline in PF (P = 0.009) and a 14-point decline in MH (P < 0.0001) after 2 years for female high caregivers working full-time and 9.3 point improvement (P = 0.02) for non-working male high caregivers. Change was not significant for non-carers. The study found that not all carers suffer adverse health impacts; however, the combination of high levels of care-giving with workforce participation can increase the risk of negative physical and mental health effects (particularly in female carers). Working carers providing high levels of care represent a vulnerable subgroup where supportive and preventive services might be focused.

Access source material through DOI

Part 1: Home-based family caregiving at the end of life: a comprehensive review of published quantitative research (1998-2008)

The changing context of palliative care over the last decade highlights the importance of recent research on home-based family caregiving at the end of life. This article reports on a comprehensive review of quantitative research (1998—2008) in this area, utilizing a systematic approach targeting studies on family caregivers, home settings, and an identified palliative phase of care (n = 129). Methodological challenges were identified, including: small, non-random, convenience samples; reliance on descriptive and bivariate analyses; and a dearth of longitudinal research. Robust evidence regarding causal relationships between predictor variables and carer outcomes is lacking. Findings suggest the need for knowledge regarding: family caregiving for patients with non-malignant terminal conditions; whether needs and outcomes differ between family caregivers at the end of life and comparison groups; and caregiver outcomes in bereavement. Clear definitions of ‘family caregiving’, ‘end of life’, and ‘needs’ are required as well as greater application and testing of theoretical and conceptual explanations.

Access source material through DOI

Carer assessment : continuing tensions and dilemmas for social care practice

Since the early 1990s, UK social care policy has committed to supporting carers. Legislation (England and Wales) over this time period has recognised the importance of separate carer assessments that take into account an individual's ability and willingness to care. This paper considers carer assessment from the perspective of social care practitioners. It reports on qualitative data from a carer research programme that spans over 20 years (1993 to present) and includes 383 in-depth interviews with social care practitioners across England and Wales. Offering unique longitudinal insights, we identify some persistent tensions associated with the translation of UK carer assessment policy into social care practice. We explore practitioners' long-standing ambivalence towards carer assessment and their reluctance to evidence carer need via a separate assessment process. Deficits relating to the conduct of carer assessment are identified. For example, the reliance on structured, problem-focused assessment protocols that restrict discussions to the personal care aspects of caring and fail to capture the complex, diverse lives that carers lead. Carer assessments do not reflect the reciprocal nature of many caring relationships, as a one-way direction of care is assumed. They do not take into account the broader support network of individuals who may be involved in helping someone with complex care needs. Carer willingness to care continues to be taken for granted and planning for the future is a significant gap in carer assessment practice. The proposed changes to the social care systems across England and Wales provide a timely opportunity to review the process and conduct of carer assessment. Policy guidance needs to clarify the links between service user and carer assessments and the way these align within broader assessment and care management frameworks. Assessment tools that encourage a narrative approach to carer assessment and capture the affective aspects of care-giving could benefit future practice.

Access source material through DOI

'Sustaining Place' - a grounded theory of how informal carers of people with dementia manage alterations to relationships within their social worlds

Aims and objectives: This paper presents a theory explaining the processes used by informal carers of people with dementia to mange alterations to their, and people with dementias' relationships with and places within their social worlds.

Background: Informal carers provide the majority of care to people with dementia. A great deal of international informal dementia care research is available, much of which elucidates the content, impacts and consequences of the informal caring role and the coping mechanisms that carers use. However, the socially situated experiences and processes integral to informal caring in dementia have not yet been robustly accounted for.

Design: A classic grounded theory approach was used as it is designed for research enquiries that aim to generate theory illustrating social patterns of action used to address an identified problem.

Methods: Thirty interviews were conducted with 31 participants between 2006–2008. The theory was conceptualised from the data using the concurrent methods of theoretical sampling, constant comparative analysis, memo writing and theoretical sensitivity.

Results: Informal carers' main concern was identified as ‘Living on the fringes’, which was stimulated by dementia-related stigma and living a different life. The theory of ‘Sustaining Place’ explains the social pattern of actions employed by informal carers to manage this problem on behalf of themselves and the person with dementia.

Conclusions: The theory of ‘Sustaining Place’ identifies an imperative for nurses, other formal carers and society to engage in actions to support and enable social connectedness, social inclusion and citizenship for informal carers and people with dementia.

Relevance to clinical practice: ‘Sustaining Place’ facilitates enhanced understanding of the complex and socially situated nature of informal dementia care through its portrayal of informal carers as social agents and can be used to guide nurses to better support those who live with dementia.

Access source material through DOI

Impact of informal care levels on discontinuation of living at home in community-dwelling dependent elderly using various community-based services

The aim of the study was to examine the effect of informal care levels on overall discontinuation of living at home, all-cause death, hospital admission, and long-term care placement for community-dwelling older people using various community-based services during a 3-year period. Prospective cohort study of 1582 community-dwelling disabled elderly and paired informal caregivers was conducted. Baseline data included the recipients and caregivers' demographic characteristics, comorbidities, informal care levels (sufficient, moderate, and insufficient care), which were evaluated by trained visiting nurses, and the level of formal community-based service use. Among 1582 participants, 97 died at home, 692 were admitted to hospitals, 318 died during their hospital stay, and 117 were institutionalized in long-term care facilities during 3 years of follow-up. A multivariate Cox hazard model demonstrated that when compared with a sufficient informal care level, an insufficient informal care level was associated with overall discontinuation of living at home, all-cause mortality, hospitalization, and institutionalization during 3 years of follow-up (hazard ratio: 1.65, 95% confidence interval: 1.15-2.36; 1.98, 1.17-3.34; 1.56, 1.04-2.35; 2.93, 1.25-6.86, respectively). The results suggested that informal caregiving is an important factor in the prevention of overall discontinuation of living at home in a population of disabled older people.

Access source material through DOI

What kinds of jobs help carers combine care and employment?

This paper provides information about what job characteristics promote or inhibit maintaining employment while caring. Using a nationally representative longitudinal data set—the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey—the paper traces the effects of the onset of care on labour force participation. This study used multivariate techniques to analyse five clusters of influences that might affect carer employment: the intensity of care responsibilities; the employees’ own characteristics; the characteristics of their employment; their workplace arrangements; and the employee’s rating of the stress, satisfaction and security associated with their job. The results showed that moderate to intensive caring responsibilities militate against maintaining labour force participation in the face of caring responsibility. Working as a casual employee, in a job without supervisory responsibilities, in smaller firms, with poor leave arrangements, no flexibility in hours and low job security all decrease the probability that carers remain in employment.

Original source (some source materials require subscription or permission to access)

An exploratory study of anxiety in carers of stroke survivors

Aims and objectives. To investigate anxiety in informal carers of stroke survivors in the first three months after discharge. Background. Informal carers, also called caregivers, play a vital role in supporting stroke survivors. However, caring for stroke survivors can have adverse consequences amongst carers such as burden, stress and reduced quality of life. Emotional distress is also commonly reported but anxiety has received less attention than depression. Design. Prospective, longitudinal, descriptive study. Method. Forty-five carers completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale on two occasions – within one month and at three months after discharge from stroke and rehabilitation units. Results. Carers were more likely to have scores indicating anxiety than depression. In the first month, half the carers (51·1%) scored in the cut-off for anxiety and a third were in the cut-off for depression (31·1%). At three months, the picture was very similar with nearly identical proportions in the anxious and depressed categories (48·9% and 28·9%, respectively). Changes in numbers of cases of anxiety and depression and in mean anxiety scores were non-significant but there was a significant decrease in depression scores (p = 0·048). Fourteen carers (31·1%) at one month and eleven (24·4%) at three months fell into both anxious and depressed categories. Conclusions.  Anxiety is a relatively neglected emotional outcome in stroke carers. Our study suggests anxiety is an important issue very early in caring whilst other research suggests it remains prevalent for many months. Given the significant role carers play in rehabilitation of stroke survivors, greater recognition of their emotional state is required. Further, longitudinal research with larger sample sizes from a range of geographical areas and improved understanding of factors associated with anxiety is needed. Relevance to clinical practice.  Nurses working in the community are ideally placed to identify and support carers suffering from anxiety.

Access source material through DOI

Is use of formal community services by older women related to changes in their informal care arrangements?

This paper examines how the relationships between the factors (predisposing, enabling and illness) of the 1973 Andersen framework and service use are influenced by changes in the caring role in older women of the 1921–26 cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. Outcome variables were the use of three formal community support services: (a) nursing or community health services, (b) home-making services and (c) home maintenance services. Predictor variables were survey wave and the following carer characteristics: level of education, country of birth, age, area of residence, ability to manage on income, need for care, sleep difficulty and changes in caring role. Carer changes were a significant predictor of formal service use. Their inclusion did not attenuate the relationship between the Andersen framework factors and service use, but instead provided a more complete representation of carers' situations. Women were more likely to have used support services if they had changed into or out of co-resident caring or continued to provide co-resident care for a frail, ill or disabled person, needed care themselves, and reported sleep difficulties compared with women who did not provide care. These findings are important because they indicate that support services are particularly relevant to women who are changing their caring role and who are themselves in need of care.

Access source material through DOI

The use of long-term care services by the Dutch elderly

The main focus of this paper is the development of an appropriate framework to characterize the process of long-term care utilization by the Dutch elderly. Three broad categories of care services are considered, namely, informal care, formal care at home, and institutional care. The use of these care alternatives is modelled jointly, and stochastic dependence is allowed between the various care options. Special attention is given to the concept of health status and to the potential endogeneity of this variable in the model. We apply a flexible non-parametric method to summarize the multidimensional concept of health status into a limited set of interpretable indices. The model is applied on the Longitudinal Ageing Study Amsterdam (LASA). We find strong effects of health status, gender, socio-economic variables, and prices on the utilization of long-term care services. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Access source material through DOI

The Effects of Incidence of Care Needs in Households on Employment, Subjective Health, and Life Satisfaction among Middle-aged Family Members

In this study, based on longitudinal data, we investigate whether Japanese middle-aged men and women become less likely to have a job and whether their sense of well-being decreases when they have a family member who needs care. We find a consistent negative impact of having a family member who needs care on employment, but no impact on subjective health and life satisfaction. Further, the differences-in-differences (DID) estimation, based on both unmatched and matched data, shows that the Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) introduced in 2000 did not mitigate the adverse impact on the probability of being employed.

Access source material through DOI

Informal caregiving transitions, subjective well-being and depressed mood: Findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Objectives: To prospectively investigate the impact of transitions in informal caregiving on emotional well-being over two years in a large population study of older people.

Methods: Information on provision of unpaid care in 2004/2005 and 2006/2007 was available for 6571 participants in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Three well-being domains were also assessed on each occasion: life satisfaction (measured with the Satisfaction with Life Scale); quality of life (assessed with the CASP-19 scale); and depression symptoms (measured using the Centers for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale). Multivariable analyses of the impact on well-being of two-year caregiving transitions (caregiving entry and caregiving exit, or continued caring) were conducted separately for spousal/child carers and carers of other family/non-relatives.

Results: Compared to non-caregiving, entry into spousal/child caregiving was associated with decline in quality of life (B = −1.60, p < .01) whereas entry into caregiving involving other kin relations increased life satisfaction (B = 1.02, p < .01) and lowered depression symptoms (B = −0.26, p < .05). Contrary to expectations, caregiving exit was related to increased depression in both spousal/child (B = 0.44, p < .01) and non-spousal/child (B = 0.25, p < .05) carers. Continued spousal/child caregiving was also related to decline in quality of life (B = −1.24, p < .05). Other associations were suggestive but non-significant.

Conclusion: The emotional impact of different caregiving transitions in later life differs across kin relationships; notably, spousal and child carers' well-being was consistently compromised at every stage of their caregiving career over the two-year study period.

Access source material through DOI

Expectations to and evaluation of a palliative home-care team as seen by patients and carers

OBJECTIVES: Although the number of palliative home-care teams is increasing, knowledge of what patients and principal informal carers expect from a home-care team is sparse. We aimed to elucidate this as well as evaluate a home-care team.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Individual semi-structured interviews with nine patients and six carers before receiving home care and 2-4 weeks after. In total, 26 interviews were conducted. Interviews were analysed with Template Analysis. Peer debriefing was performed.

MAIN RESULTS: Patients and carers expected the team members to have specialised knowledge in palliative care and to improve their sense of security being at home. They also expected respite for carers and activities for patients. They evaluated the team positively but missed respite for carers and 24-h on-call service.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients and carers found the home-care team essential to their sense of security being at home. Primary health care professionals must receive any necessary training outside patients' homes. Offering respite for carers and 24-h on-call service would be an improvement.

Access source material through DOI

The health consequences of multiple roles at older ages in the UK

Increasing proportions of men and women are combining family (including care-giving) and work responsibilities in later life; however, the relationship between multiple role commitments and health at older ages remains unclear. Employing data from the longitudinal Retirement Survey (1988–1989 and 1994), the present authors applied logistic regression models to investigate the relationship between multiple role occupancy (1) cross-sectionally in 1988–1989 and health status in 1994; (2) retrospectively over the respondent's lifetime up to 1988–1989 and health outcomes in 1988–1989; and (3) retrospectively between 1988–1989 and 1994, and health status in 1994. The health outcomes considered were (1) general health status, (2) functional ability and (3) severity of disability category. Overall, simultaneous role occupancy (e.g. care-giving and employment) at older ages does not appear to be associated with poor health. The authors report a positive association between employment and health, as expected. There were mixed results concerning the association between care-giving and health. Where adverse health outcomes were found, the parental role, alone or in combination with other roles, was most frequently related to poor health. Thus, for a nationally representative sample of mid-life men and women, the combination of care-giving with other family and work roles appears to have few negative health consequences. Further research is needed on whether continued parental demands in mid-life have a negative impact on health.

Access source material through DOI

A time-sovereignty approach to understanding carers of cancer patients' experiences and support preferences

Much of the literature on informal carers of cancer patients is quantitative and psycho-oncology based. This literature has established that cancer carers experience higher rates of stress, depression and anxiety than their non-caregiving counterparts, with younger female carers reporting higher rates of burden and unmet needs. The reasons behind this variation and variations in support preferences are poorly understood: some carers prefer support groups and others prefer practical support. This study takes a sociological approach to exploring carers' varied experiences. Longitudinal interviews were conducted with 32 carers of a spouse with cancers of varying stages and diagnoses in the Australian Capital Territory. Analysis, informed by the discretionary time literature, shows time-sovereignty illuminates much of the variation in carers' emotional experiences and support preferences. Carers with few competing commitments and less onerous caregiving responsibilities had time to experience and unpack the range of emotions associated with cancer, and reconnect with their spouse. These carers preferred emotion-focused support. In contrast, carers with multiple commitments had little time to themselves and viewed emotions as an indulgence. These carers preferred practical support. A time-sovereignty framework offers health and support professionals a means of understanding carers' varying needs and tailoring support services.

Access source material through DOI

The effects of informal care on paid-work participation in Great Britain: a lifecourse perspective

Several recent studies have documented a negative relationship between informal care-giving and labour market attachment in Great Britain. This paper examines the relationship from a longitudinal perspective using data from the Great Britain 1994–95 Family and Working Lives Survey. The first part of the paper studies the timing of informal care-giving to a sick, disabled or elderly person. This information is used in the second part to examine the effects of caring on employment. The results show that most carers look after only one dependant during their lives, and only around one-fifth to one-third look after a second dependant before the age of 65 years. Of all informal carers, about one-third had not been employed when they started caring for the first time in their lives, another third said that caring had no effect on their work arrangements, and about one-third reported one or several effects on their work arrangements, most commonly that they stopped working. Multivariate analyses show that semi-routine and routine manual workers report the strongest effects of care-giving. Part-time workers were more likely than full-time workers to reduce their hours of paid employment when they started caring.

Access source material through DOI

PL01 The impact of caring for spouses on mental health and health behaviours in over 50s in Ireland, the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing

Background An association between informal caring and increased stress, depression and ill-health has been found previously. Limited data are available on the effect of spousal caring on mental health. This study aimed to determine if informal caring for a spouse was associated with depression or health behaviours in adults aged over 50 in Ireland and whether these effects were influenced by the amount of formal care also received.

Methods We analysed two waves (2009–2011, and 2012–2013) of the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing (TILDA), a stratified probability sample prospective cohort of men and women aged over 50, resident in Ireland. A total of 5220 respondents, or 2610 couples, who were married/partnered with both spouses in two waves were included. We used multivariate logistic regression models to determine whether caring for a spouse was associated with depression, adjusting for age, socio-economic variables, disability, and cognition of spouse, social support and health-related behaviours in addition to formal care support. Change scores in depression between waves in spousal carers were calculated with the 20-item Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale, and alcohol problems measured using the CAGE alcohol questionnaire. All analyses were conducted in STATA 12.

Results Overall 2.4% (123 of 5051) of married individuals aged over 50 in Ireland began caring for their spouse since surveyed in 2009–2011, and 0.5% (25) cared for their spouse in both surveys. Beginning to care for a spouse was associated with increased depression in the multivariable model (OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.01–1.09) for women, but not in men. Becoming a spousal carer was also associated with negative health behaviours; carers were more likely to be current smokers (OR 2.06, 95% CI 1.17–3.64) and men to have a problem with alcohol (OR 7.78, 95% CI 3.52–17.2), compared to non-carers. The negative effect of caring on mental health was attenuated by receiving respite care, home help and personal care attendants.

Conclusion Becoming a spousal carer was associated with increased depression in this longitudinal study but this effect was reduced by access to formal care. The impact of caring on depression and behavioural health was differentially moderated by gender, with women having increased depression, and men more likely to have problematic drinking. Further research is needed to clarify mechanisms of resilience and support to increase social inclusion of informal carers and enhance home support through formal care mechanisms to reduce the detrimental health-related risks of care-giving.

Access source material through DOI

Dying, death and bereavement: a qualitative study of the views of carers of people with heart failure in the UK

Background: This paper explores carers' views of dying, death and bereavement for family members who had recently died with heart failure adding to a growing literature on end of life experiences for people with conditions other than cancer.

Methods: Twenty interviews were conducted with bereaved carers of older people with heart failure (HF) who had been participating in a longitudinal study. Carers were approached in writing 3 months after the death. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically with the assistance of NUD*IST.

Results: Findings were grouped into three time periods: prior to death; the death itself and bereavement. Most carers found discussions about end of life with their family member prior to death difficult. Dissatisfaction with the manner of the death was focused around hospital care, particularly what they believed to be futile treatments. In contrast deaths in the home were considered 'good'. Carers adopted a range of coping strategies to deal with grief including 'using their faith' and 'busying themselves' with practicalities. There was some satisfaction with services accessed during the bereavement period although only a small number had taken up counselling.

Discussion: Our findings suggest that an absence of discussion about end of life care wishes with family members or health professionals is a barrier to advance care planning. Carers' perceptions about prioritising making the dying person comfortable can be in conflict with doctors' decisions to treat. Whilst carers report a range of strategies adopted in response to bereavement there is a need for continued support for vulnerable carers after the death of the person with HF.

Access source material through DOI

What causes problems in Alzheimer's disease: attributions by caregivers. a qualitative study

Objective: To gain insight into caregivers' understanding of the causes of behaviours they find problematic in people with Alzheimer's disease in order to inform the development of educational strategies.

Methods: A qualitative, semi-structured interview was used. Participants were 205 caregivers for a person with Alzheimer's disease, all of whom were aware of the diagnosis and who had been recruited as part of a larger longitudinal study. Participants were from inner-city and suburban London/semi-rural Essex. The main outcome measures were caregivers' understanding of: the cause of problematic behaviour; the ability of the person with dementia to control this behaviour; the prognosis of the illness.

Results: Most carers attribute the cognitive, behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia to causes other than dementia; many believe that the person with dementia has control over their behaviour and substantial numbers believe the person with dementia will return to normal.

Conclusions: This study suggests that providing facts about the illness to caregivers is not enough, as caregivers may not understand that the symptoms they observe are related to the diagnosis. Education by clinicians should focus on the understanding of caregivers and in particular explore the caregivers' attributions of the symptoms which are present in the person for whom they care. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Access source material through DOI

The Impact of Caring on Informal Carers' Employment, Income and Earnings: a Longitudinal Approach

In Australia the policy balance has shifted away from institutional forms of health and aged care towards supporting people in their own homes. This change presupposes a significant and growing supply of informal caring labour. A large proportion of informal carers (40–60 per cent) currently combine paid employment with their caring responsibilities. Using the longitudinal Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey, the paper examines the effect of caring on employment, hours worked and earnings. The analysis shows that working age carers experience disadvantage. Carers are more likely than non-carers to reduce their hours of work or exit from the labour force, and earn lower levels of income. In planning for an ageing population, policies will need to address these negative effects and privatised costs of caring if the supply of informal care is to be sustained in the future.

Access source material through DOI

The effect of change in mental disorder status on change in spousal mental health: the HUNT study

Longitudinal research on caregiver burden related to mental disorders based on representative samples is scarce. Previous results on the development of burden over time are inconsistent. This article aims to establish whether change in mental disorder status in the index persons predicts subjective burden in their spouses in terms of changed mental health over a period of 11 years. The authors compared change in spousal mental health between four groups from a Norwegian population based sample of 9,144 couples, in which the index persons suffered from mental disorder at the first, second, both, or none of the two measurement times. Mental disorder was defined by a high score on a measure of global mental health combined with self reported impaired functioning due to mental health problems. Spouses of index persons who suffered from mental disorder at the second but not the first measurement time reported moderately impaired mental health, but those spouses with few friends reported a more severe impairment. Spousal mental health in the other groups did not change significantly. Effect sizes were moderate. The findings suggest that spouses of mentally disordered individuals in general experience only moderate levels of burden, and that the transition into a caregiving role is the period in which spouses are vulnerable to negative effects on their mental health. The results point to the treatment of mental health problems in couples as a supplement or alternative to individual treatment.

Access source material through DOI

Emotional over-involvement can be deleterious for caregivers' health: Mexican Americans caring for a relative with schizophrenia

The study of emotional over-involvement (EOI) has focused primarily on its relationship with patients' course of illness. The authors know little about the predictors and possible consequences of EOI for caregivers. Based on past research, they tested the hypotheses that EOI is associated with worse physical and psychological health among caregivers and examined whether caregiver burden and social support may mediate this relationship. In a sample of 37 Mexican American caregivers and their ill relatives recruited from two outpatient clinics, the authors examined the relationships between EOI, caregiver burden, caregivers' level of social support, and caregivers' health. Additionally, they examined whether caregiver burden and social support may mediate the relationship between EOI and caregivers' health. Cross-sectional analysis indicates that at baseline EOI was not associated with caregiver burden or social support, but was related to worse current health. Longitudinal analysis, however, indicates that EOI at baseline was associated with greater burden, less instrumental support, and worse health among caregivers at follow-up. Moreover, objective burden and instrumental support mediated the relationship between EOI and several health outcomes. Consequently, EOI may be a marker of poor current health status and predicts worse future health among Mexican–American caregiving relatives of individuals with schizophrenia. Moreover, changes in burden and social support associated with EOI appear to mediate the relationship between EOI and several health outcomes among caregivers. These findings suggest that it might be important for family interventions to not only address the functioning of individuals with schizophrenia but also their caregiving relatives.

Access source material through DOI

Cognitive-behavioural therapy for the management of sickle cell disease pain: identification and assessment of costs

Objective. The aim of the present study was to investigate the economic validity of using a psychological intervention in the management of sickle cell disease (SCD). Thomas et al . ( Br J Health Psychol 1999; 4: 209-29) concluded that cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) appears to be immediately effective for the management of SCD pain in terms of reducing psychological distress pain as well as improving coping. Method. The costs of management of SCD were evaluated using a societal viewpoint. This approach includes health and social services as well as costs privately borne by informal carers, but it did not include the economic loss due to patients' foregone earnings. Cost profiles were constructed for each patient taking account of cost generating events 12 months before and 12 months after CBT. Results. The hypothesis of the present study, stating that CBT is economically efficient, was confirmed. However, analysis of longitudinal data suggests that CBT is most cost-effective during the first 6 months after the intervention. Conclusion. The present findings suggest the need for CBT to be integrated into the normal package of care available for all patients with SCD. The clinical implication is that CBT should be routinely offered to patients on a 6-monthly basis.

Access source material through DOI

The perseverance time of informal carers for people with dementia: Results of a two-year longitudinal follow-up study

Background: Given the projected increase of people with dementia over the next few decades and the related demand for informal care, an important question for health policy makers is to what extent and for how long informal carers can be expected to provide care in a sustainable way. This study aimed to investigate the perseverance time of informal carers for people with dementia.

Methods: A 2-year longitudinal cohort study was conducted. Questionnaires were used to collect data about the care situation, the impact of caregiving on carers and their need for support, and the anticipated and realized perseverance time of informal carers for people with dementia living at home. The data were analysed using bivariate and multivariate analyses.

Results: Two hundred twenty-three carers for people with dementia were included in the study and 25 (11.2 %) dropped out during the follow-up. The results show that after 1 year, 74 (37.4 %) of 198 patients were still living at home, and after 2 years, 44 (22.2 %) patients were still living at home. The variables that were associated with this outcome were identified. When informal carers anticipated that their perseverance time would be less than 1 year, this was indicative of their actual perseverance time.

Conclusions: Anticipated perseverance time provides a fair indication of the actual duration of informal care. It is most accurate when carers anticipate a limited rather than an unlimited perseverance time. Although further research is required to support these findings, the concept of perseverance time may be considered a useful additional instrument in health policy and clinical practice for monitoring carers’ need for support and for planning the transition of care from home to a nursing home.

Access source material through DOI

Informal care, health and mortality

Informal care provision is an activity in which individuals are increasingly likely to become involved across their life course, and particularly in later life, as a result of demographic changes such as increasing longevity and changes in co-residential living arrangements in later life. Academic research so far has highlighted the adverse impact of informal care provision on the financial position of the carer, however, the evidence on the impact of informal care provision on the carer's physical, mental and emotional health, and on their mortality, presents a more complex picture. This paper reviews research from the UK and beyond on the provision of informal care and its subsequent impact on health and mortality outcomes. Two key findings emerge from this review paper. Firstly, the cross-sectional analysis of data shows mixed associations between informal care provision and poor health outcomes for the carer. Such research highlights the importance of the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the carer and the person cared for, and of the specific characteristics and nature of the care provided (e.g. duration, level). Secondly, longitudinal analysis, which typically benefits from a longer timeframe to follow up the impact of caring, shows that although informal care provision is not per se associated with adverse health and mortality outcomes, nevertheless particular types and durations of caring have shown negative outcomes.

Access source material through DOI

Social networks, befriending and support for family carers of people with dementia

Social networks are seen to influence the use of health and social care services. In a secondary analysis of data from a longitudinal study of befriending of carers of people with dementia, the authors studied the relationship between network type and support from family/friends, voluntary sector befriending and residential/nursing care. Using Wenger's typology of social networks, finding suggest that the pattern of support use varies by differences in the structure of networks. It is recommended that questions on social networks should be widely incorporated into carers' assessments to help identify need for social support interventions and to enable the sensitive selection of appropriate types of carer support to be provided.

Access source material through DOI

Unpaid caregiving and paid work over life-courses: Different pathways, diverging outcomes

We investigate the extent to which people's earlier circumstances and experiences shape subsequent life-courses. We do this using UK longitudinal data to provide a dynamic analysis of employment and caregiving histories for 4339 people over 15–20 years between 1991 and 2010. We analyse these histories as sequences using optimal matching and cluster analysis to identify five distinct employment-caregiving pathways. Regression analysis shows that prior to embarking on these pathways, people are already differentiated by life-stage, gender and attitudes towards family and gender roles. Difference-in-differences estimation shows that some initial differences in income, subjective health and wellbeing widen over time, while others narrow. In particular, those following the most caregiving-intensive pathways not only end up poorer but also experience a relative decline in subjective health and wellbeing. These results confirm that earlier circumstances exert a strong influence on later life-courses consistent with pre-determination, persistence and path dependence.

Access source material through DOI

Longitudinal perspectives on caregiving, employment history and marital status in midlife in England and Wales

In this paper, we examine associations between employment history and marital status and unpaid care provision among those aged 40–59 in England and Wales. We used data from a large nationally representative longitudinal study, the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study. Initially based on a sample drawn from the 1971 Census, in 2001 this study included data on 110 464 people aged 40–59 of whom 5% provided 20 or more hours per week of unpaid care. We analysed associations between caregiving of this intensity and current employment, employment history, employment characteristics, marital status, and employment after childbearing. Among men, caregiving was associated with a history of lower levels of employment. The small group of men with a history of least employment were 70% more likely to provide care than those with a history of most employment. Among women, caregiving was associated with a history of non-employment, but there were no differences between those with fully engaged and partially engaged labour market histories. Analyses of a subset of data on women who had a child between 1981 and 1991 showed that those who had returned to full-time paid work by 1991 were over 50% less likely to later become caregivers. Some associations between employment characteristics and propensity to provide 20 or more hours per week of care were also identified. Those in public sector jobs and those previously in employment with a caregiving dimension were 20–30% more likely than other working women to provide unpaid care. These results suggest a continuing gender dimension in care provision which interacts with marital status and employment in gender-specific ways. It also suggests that implementation of strategies to enable those in midlife to combine caregiving and work responsibilities, should they wish to do so, should be an urgent priority.

Access source material through DOI

Preference for place of care and place of death in palliative care: are these different questions?

Place of death is at times suggested as an outcome for palliative care services. This study aimed to describe longitudinal preferences for place of care and place of death over time for patients and their caregivers. Longitudinal paired data of patient/caregiver dyads from a prospective unblinded cluster randomised control trial were used. Patients and caregivers were separately asked by the palliative care nurse their preference at that time for place of care and place of death. Longitudinal changes over time for both questions were mapped; patterns of agreement (patient and caregiver; and preference for place of death when last asked and actual placed of death) were analysed with kappa statistics. Seventy-one patient/caregiver dyads were analysed. In longitudinal preferences, preferences for both the place of care (asked a mean of >6 times) and place of death (asked a mean of >4 times) changed for patients (28% and 30% respectively) and caregivers (31% and 30%, respectively). In agreement between patients and caregivers, agreement between preference of place of care and preferred place of death when asked contemporaneously for patients and caregivers was low [56% (κ 0.33) and 36% (κ 0.35) respectively]. In preference versus actual place of death, preferences were met for 37.5% of participants for home death; 62.5% for hospital; 76.9% for hospice and 63.6% for aged care facility. This study suggests that there are two conversations: preference for current place of care and preference for care at the time of death. Place of care is not a euphemism for place of death; and further research is needed to delineate these. Patient and caregiver preferences may not change simultaneously. Implications of any mismatch between actual events and preferences need to be explored.

Access source material through DOI

Impact of Mid-Life Symptoms of Alcoholism on the Health and Wellbeing of Aging Parents of Adults with Disabilities

The study examined the effect of adult children’s disability on parents’ physical health in later life and the extent to which parents’ symptoms of alcoholism in mid-life moderates the link between children’s disability and later life parental health. Analyses are based on data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. The analytic sample included parents of children with developmental disabilities (n = 145) or mental health problems (n = 200) and 2,432 parents of unaffected children. The results showed that the negative health consequences in later life of having a child with a developmental disability were greater for those who showed more symptoms of alcoholism in mid-life. However, symptoms of alcoholism in mid-life did not significantly moderate the impact of an adult child’s mental health problems on parents’ later life physical health. The findings suggest a potential area where gerontological social workers could intervene, given the negative impact of symptoms of alcoholism on the health of aging parents of children with a disability who may be significantly more susceptible to the negative health impacts of alcohol compared to their younger counterparts.

Access source material through DOI

Risk Factors for Developing Prolonged Grief During Bereavement in Family Carers of Cancer Patients in Palliative Care: A Longitudinal Study

Context: Family carers of palliative care patients report high levels of psychological distress throughout the caregiving phase and during bereavement. Palliative care providers are required to provide psychosocial support to family carers; however, determining which carers are more likely to develop prolonged grief (PG) is currently unclear.

Objectives: To ascertain whether family carers reporting high levels of PG symptoms and those who develop PG disorder (PGD) by six and 13 months postdeath can be predicted from predeath information.

Methods: A longitudinal study of 301 carers of patients receiving palliative care was conducted across three palliative care services. Data were collected on entry to palliative care (T1) on a variety of sociodemographic variables, carer-related factors, and psychological distress measures. The measures of psychological distress were then readministered at six (T2; n=167) and 13 months postdeath (T3; n=143).

Results: The PG symptoms at T1 were a strong predictor of both PG symptoms and PGD at T2 and T3. Greater bereavement dependency, a spousal relationship to the patient, greater impact of caring on schedule, poor family functioning, and low levels of optimism also were risk factors for PG symptoms.

Conclusion: Screening family carers on entry to palliative care seems to be the most effective way of identifying who has a higher risk of developing PG. We recommend screening carers six months after the death of their relative to identify most carers with PG.

Access source material through DOI

Major depression among medically ill elders contributes to sustained poor mental health in their informal caregivers

Background: no longitudinal studies have addressed the effect of late life depression on the physical and mental health status of their informal caregivers.

Objective: to examine whether a diagnosis of depression in older medical inpatients is associated with the physical and mental health status of their informal caregivers after 6 months, independent of the physical health of the care recipient.

Design: longitudinal observational study with 6-month follow-up.

Setting: two Montreal acute-care hospitals.

Subjects: a sample of 97 cognitively intact medical inpatients aged 65 and over and their informal caregivers, with oversampling of patients with a diagnosis of major or minor depression.

Methods: patient data included depression (current diagnosis, duration of current diagnosis, severity of symptoms, and history of depression), physical health (severity of illness, comorbidity, premorbid disability), and cognitive impairment. Caregiver data included relationship to patient, co-residence, and the physical and mental health status subscales of the SF-36. Multivariate linear regression analyses were conducted to determine the relationship between patient depression and caregiver 6 month SF-36 physical and mental scores, adjusting for baseline values, patient comorbidity, disability, and other patient and caregiver variables.

Results: patient characteristics included: mean age 79.3, 62% female, 46% major depression, 18% minor depression, 36% no depression. Caregiver characteristics included: 73% female, 35% co-resident spouse, 15% other co-resident relation, 50% not residing with the patient. Results of the multivariate analyses showed that in comparison with caregivers of patients without a current diagnosis f depressio, caregivers of those with major depression had a lower mental health score at follow-up (−9.54, 95% CI −16.66, −2.43), even though their physical health was slightly better (5.42 95% CI 0.04, 10.81).

Conclusions: a diagnosis of major depression in older medical inpatients is independently associated with poor mental health in their informal caregivers 6 months later.

Access source material through DOI

Who cares? A comparison of informal and formal care provision in Spain, England and the USA

This paper investigates the prevalence of incapacity in performing daily activities and the associations between household composition and availability of family members and receipt of care among older adults with functioning problems in Spain, England and the United States of America (USA). We examine how living arrangements, marital status, child availability, limitations in functioning ability, age and gender affect the probability of receiving formal care and informal care from household members and from others in three countries with different family structures, living arrangements and policies supporting care of the incapacitated. Data sources include the 2006 Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe for Spain, the third wave of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (2006), and the eighth wave of the USA Health and Retirement Study (2006). Logistic and multinomial logistic regressions are used to estimate the probability of receiving care and the sources of care among persons age 50 and older. The percentage of people with functional limitations receiving care is higher in Spain. More care comes from outside the household in the USA and England than in Spain. The use of formal care among the incapacitated is lowest in the USA and highest in Spain.

Access source material through DOI

Future Care Planning for patients approaching end-of-life with advanced heart disease: an interview study with patients, carers and healthcare professionals exploring the content, rationale and design of a randomised clinical trial

Objective: To explore the optimal content and design of a clinical trial of an end-of-life intervention for advanced heart disease with patients, carers and healthcare professionals. Design: Qualitative interview and focus group study. Setting: Community and hospital-based focus groups and interviews. Participants: Stable community-dwelling patients, informal carers (PC, n=15) and primary and secondary care based healthcare professionals (HCP, n=11). Results: PC highlighted fragmentation of services and difficulty in accessing specialist care as key barriers to good care. They felt that time for discussion with HCP was inadequate within current National Health Service (NHS) healthcare systems. HCP highlighted uncertainty of prognosis, explaining mortality risk to patients and switching from curative to palliative approaches as key challenges. Patient selection, nature of the intervention and relevance of trial outcomes were identified by HCP as key challenges in the design of a clinical trial. Conclusions PC and HCP expressed a number of concerns relevant to the nature and content of an end-of-life intervention for patients with advanced heart disease. The findings of this study are being used to support a phase II randomised clinical trial of Future Care Planning in advanced heart disease.

Access source material through DOI

Correlates of care relationship mutuality among carers of people with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease

Aim.  This paper presents findings from secondary analysis of longitudinal data on correlates of care relationship mutuality collected from 91 carers of people with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in the control group of a randomized trial of home-care skill training.

Background.  Many family members and other informal carers are reported to suffer multiple adverse social, financial, psychological and physical caregiving outcomes. High levels of mutuality, the perception that the quality of the care relationship is positive, reportedly ameliorate these negative outcomes.

Method.  Multilevel models for change were used to explore whether care recipient functional ability, carer gender, depressive symptoms, kin relation to care recipient (spouse, non-spouse) and years of caregiving experience were related to carers’ perceptions of care relationship mutuality over a 12-month period. Data collection took place between 2003 and 2008.

Results.  Carers who reported lower mutuality: (1) were caring for care recipients with lower functional ability, (2) had less caregiving experience and (3) had more depressive symptoms.

Conclusion.  Informal carers who perceive little mutuality in their relationship with the care recipient may be more likely to terminate care early. Clinicians and researchers should explore the quality of the caregiving relationship as a critical factor in carer and care recipient outcomes. Home-care skill training may need to include relationship-building skills to offset adverse carer outcomes.

Access source material through DOI

Is caring associated with an increased risk of mortality?: A longitudinal study

Informal care is a fundamental component of care in the community which, given current demographic trends and increasing prevalence of debilitating chronic disease, is likely to assume even greater significance in future. Research indicates that caregivers are more likely than non-carers to report poor health, though this has usually been measured in terms of psychological or emotional health such as depression or ‘caregiver strain’. Relatively little is known about the effects of caring on physical health. This study examines the health of caregivers recorded in the 2001 Northern Ireland Census and their subsequent mortality over the following four years. Caregivers were a heterogeneous group, with those providing fewer hours of care being relatively more affluent than those providing care at greater intensities. Overall, caregivers had lower mortality risks than non-carers and effects were more pronounced for women, older people, and for those reporting poorer health at the start of the study period. While this study does not exclude the possibility of significant detrimental health effects of caring for some sub-groups of caregivers, it does add support to the growing body of literature which suggests that the positive aspects of caring have been underreported.

Access source material through DOI

The Vicious Cycle of Parental Caregiving and Financial Well-being: A Longitudinal Study of Women

Objectives: This study examines the relationship between caring for older parents and the financial well-being of caregivers by investigating whether a reciprocal association, or vicious cycle, exists between female caregiver’s lower household incomes and caring for elderly parents.

Method: Data for women aged 51 or older with at least 1 living parent or parent-in-law were drawn from the Health and Retirement Survey 2006, 2008, and 2010 (N = 2,093). A cross-lagged panel design was applied with structural equation modeling.

Results: We found support for the reciprocal relationship between parental caregiving and lower household income. Female caregivers were more likely than noncaregivers to be in lower household income at later observation points. Also, women with lower household income were more likely than women with higher household income to assume caregiving at later observation points.

Discussion: This study suggests that there exists a vicious cycle of parental care and lower household income among women. A key concern for policy is female caregivers’ financial status when care of older parents is assumed and care burden when women’s financial status declines.

Access source material through DOI

The employment transitions of mid-life women: health and care effects

This article provides information on the movements into and out of paid work by mid-life women. This is a group whose representation in the paid workforce is growing as population ageing proceeds and as educational qualifications expand. It is also a group that will be critical to any labour supply response to the economic challenges posed by population ageing. However, current understandings of the needs and circumstances of mid-life women in paid work are limited. To help address this knowledge gap we use data from the first five waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey (2001–2005) to identify the causal influences of health, care and other factors on the ability of mid-life women to remain in and re-enter paid work. The results show that poor health and/or substantial care roles have a negative impact on the employment chances of this group. However, importantly, there is asymmetry in these health and care effects, in that improvements in health and/or reductions in care roles do not increase the chances of returning to paid work. This finding indicates that many mid-life women who experience poor health and/or undertake large care roles face substantial long-term negative consequences for their employment chances and, thus, their retirement and pre-retirement incomes.

Access source material through DOI

The Longitudinal Ramifications of Stroke Caregiving: A Systematic Review

Family members assume considerable care responsibilities for relatives suffering from stroke. Although a number of quantitative and qualitative studies examine the emotional and psychological ramifications of stroke caregiving, no recent review has considered the longitudinal implications of family stroke care. The goal of this systematic review was to determine whether duration of family care is a significant predictor of stroke caregiving outcomes and if stroke caregiving outcomes change over time. PsycINFO (1950 to 2009), MEDLINE (1966 to 2009), and CINAHL (1982 to 2009) databases were searched to identify relevant research articles. Reference lists of selected articles were also hand searched. Of 1,188 studies identified, 117 were selected for review based on eligibility criteria. Synthesized results found that duration of care did not emerge as a significant predictor of stroke caregiving outcomes in most cross-sectional quantitative studies. Caregiver stress, depression, and subjective health measures did not tend to demonstrate significant change in longitudinal quantitative studies (although some studies did indicate increases and/or decreases in well-being over time). Qualitative studies describe a more dynamic stroke caregiving process. The results of this review emphasize the need to apply more rigorous research approaches, appropriate theories, and mixed-method designs to advance the state-of-the-art. Such improvements will provide practitioners with stronger evidence to guide the development, targeting, and timing of clinical interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Access source material through DOI

The need for support services for family carers of people with motor neurone disease (MND): views of current and former family caregivers a qualitative study

Purpose: Family carers provide the majority of home-based care for people with motor neurone disease (MND). Carers’ need for, and use of, support services are not fully understood; this study aimed to explore, from a qualitative perspective, the views of current and former family carers of people with MND.

Methods: A qualitative study was undertaken in Northwest England, using narrative interviews with current (18) and former (10) carers of a family member with MND. An optional longitudinal element involving diary completion was offered to the current carers. Data were analyzed using a thematic framework approach.

Results: Carer’s needs vary, but encompass the provision of information and training, availability of respite care, counselling, and access to trained paid-for carers.

Conclusions: There is need for a range of support services to be made available from which carers can select those most appropriate for them. Some support services are not always available for carers of this client group. There is a need for carers to access greater manual handling and training for physical care. Without sufficient support, carer burden can be overwhelming which may impact on the place of care of the patient and ultimately has implications for health and social care services.

Access source material through DOI

The experience of being a middle-aged close relative of a person who has suffered a stroke, 1 year after discharge from a rehabilitation clinic: A qualitative study

Background: Living in close emotional and physical proximity to a person who has suffered a stroke may alter almost every aspect of daily living and will inevitably impact family life. Age seems to be a factor in the experiences of stroke sufferers’ close relatives after the stroke.

Objectives: This study aimed to illuminate the experience of being a middle-aged close relative of a person who has suffered a stroke; 1 year after the stroke sufferer's discharge from a rehabilitation clinic.

Participants: Nine middle-aged close relatives of persons with a confirmed diagnosis of a first-time stroke were consecutively included in the study and interviewed.

Methods: The narrative interviews were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim and analyzed using a thematic content analysis. The study was part of a longitudinal study.

Results: Four themes emerged from the data, intertwined and in conflict with one another. A turning point was reached, and the inevitability of an altered future became self-evident, so much so that the middle-aged close relatives felt forced to accept and become reconciled to a changed way of living, even if feelings of grief from loss were still present. The middle-aged close relatives’ process of coming to awareness and recognition of their own needs was part of a complex interplay of emotions, in which they learned to leave feelings of shame and guilt behind. They experienced movement from self-denial to self-recognition in their search for their own well-being and the recovery of their strength for a functioning family life. Even if they experienced a greater sense of freedom, they still face living life within limits. A significant challenge appears to be the effects of the personality changes among the person with a stroke, and the resulting sense of being an outsider. Relatives struggled with health care providers for visibility and confirmation. Their experiences were ones of standing alone, outside a closing door to the rehabilitation. Their ability to work, the benefits of functioning home care, and support from their family helped them through these challenges.

Conclusion: This study highlights the middle-aged relatives’ realization that they will live an inevitability altered future. Individually, the stroke sufferer's relatives need support in their relationships within the family for emotional confirmation and to help them recognize and verbalize their needs without feeling guilt; gaining these supportive factors may help the relatives to recover their sense of well-being and give strength for a future, properly functioning family life.

Access source material through DOI

Predicting mental health outcomes in female working carers: a longitudinal analysis

This study investigated the factors contributing to psychological distress and positive affect over time in female working carers of older people. Questionnaires (including measures of work-related, care-related, interpersonal and psychological aspects of working and caring) were distributed to 275 female working carers in the UK, the majority of whom were working as nurses in the National Health Service. In cross-sectional analyses, higher work stress and work demands predicted higher psychological distress among respondents. Better carer health, lower external pressures to care and higher work satisfaction predicted greater positive affect. The combined effects of greater work stress and work demands also predicted higher levels of psychological distress at follow-up (after one year), whereas younger age and lower work stress predicted greater positive affect over time. We conclude that more stressful and demanding work roles appear detrimental to carers’ mental health, while lower stress occupational roles may be beneficial, providing satisfaction and fulfilment outside of the caring role. Older female carers may be especially at risk of psychological distress, possibly due in part to increasing health problems of their own.

Access source material through DOI

The oldest carers: A narrative review and synthesis of the experiences of carers aged over 75 years

As populations age, numbers of older carers are increasing. These carers play a vital role in supporting others, often partners or spouses with dementia.

This narrative review synthesised peer-reviewed evidence published over the last two decades concerning the experiences of carers aged over 75 years, specifically exploring whether their experiences differ from those of younger carers. Four electronic databases were searched and 4102 publications were identified. Eighteen studies involving over one thousand carer participants were included (11 quantitative, 6 qualitative, and 1 mixed-methods study). Most studies came from Europe or North America and almost all were cross-sectional, but few directly compared younger and older carers, making it difficult to determine whether carers’ experiences vary with age. Quantitative studies generally emphasised the challenges of caring and frequently highlighted, for example, relationships between carer characteristics and negative outcomes such as burden. Qualitative studies were often more positive, emphasising carers’ active responses and the rewards of caring. The normality of caring was highlighted, with some suggesting that caring may be less challenging for older than for younger carers.

As with younger carers, being an older carer can be both rewarding and difficult. Our understanding of the experiences of these older carers would be enhanced with more research specifically comparing older and younger carers or comparing older carers and those not in a caring role. Carers are diverse and future research should explore the experiences of carers from different demographic groups. More longitudinal research perhaps focusing on caring dyads and mutual caring is needed.

Access source material through DOI

Overcoming barriers: unpaid care and employment in England

An estimated 315,000 unpaid carers aged 16 to 64 in England, predominantly women, have left full-time or part-time employment to provide care. n A key threshold at which carers in England are at risk of leaving employment occurs when care is provided for 10 or more hours a week, a lower threshold than previously thought. n The public expenditure costs of carers leaving employment are estimated at £1.3 billion a year, based on the costs of Carers Allowance and lost tax revenues on foregone incomes alone. n Access to publicly-funded services by working carers is low, with only 4% of carers working full-time, and 6% working part-time, currently offered an assessment or review. n There is little evidence that councils systematically use services for the cared-for person as a means of supporting carers whose employment is at risk. n Councils target their support at people providing care for 35 hours a week or more and are therefore not in contact with large numbers of carers whose employment is at risk. n Despite an increasing emphasis in government policy on ‘replacement care’, the study has not found any scientific papers on the effectiveness of services for the cared-for person (‘replacement care’) as a means of supporting working carers in England. n There is a need for further evidence to support the development of policies around ‘replacement care’ for working carers in England.

Original source (some source materials require subscription or permission to access)

Family, work and quality of life: changing economic and social roles through the lifecourse

This article reports research funded as part of the recent ESRC Growing Older initiative. The project ‘Family, Work and Quality of Life’ explored changes in economic and social roles across four birth cohorts passing through mid-life (45–59/64 years) in Britain. The relationship between multiple role responsibilities and a range of indicators of quality of life, including material resources, health and engagement in social activities were investigated. The research was based upon secondary analysis of four different surveys: the 2000 British Household Panel Study, the 1994–95 Family and Working Lives Survey, the 1985, 1990, 1995, and 2000 General Household Surveys, and the longitudinal Retirement Survey (1988/89 and 1994). A particularly interesting finding is that being ‘caught in the middle’, in terms of having simultaneous care-giving responsibilities to dependent children and frail parents whilst in paid work, has been atypical. Only one-in-nine British women, and one-in-ten British men, aged 45–49 years (born in 1941–45) occupy all three roles concurrently, but multiple role occupancy is increasing across cohorts, particularly the combination of caring and paid work. Role occupancy significantly affects the accumulation of pension entitlements (particularly second-tier pensions), with the effect that many women who have fulfilled the important social roles of carer and parent will face a low income in old age. Where adverse health outcomes were found, parental role in mid-life was most frequently associated with such poor health, suggesting that continued parental demands in mid-life may have negative health consequences.

 
Access source material through DOI

Burden of caring: risks and consequences imposed on caregivers of those living and dying with advanced heart failure

Purpose of review: To summarize the latest research on the risks and consequences of the burden that may be imposed on informal carers of persons living and dying with advanced heart failure.

Recent findings: A systematic search in PubMed over the period 2013?2014 ultimately revealed 24 original articles included in this review. From this research update it can be concluded that the body of knowledge increased with more studies focusing on caregivers of patients with advanced heart failure.

Summary: Caregivers are important partners in care and their lives are seriously affected by the condition of advanced heart failure. Studies on the longitudinal effects of the caregiving role on caregiver's quality of life and on caregiver contributions to patient outcomes is still scarce. Focus of current research is moving towards relationship aspects. Dyadic-care typologies and the concept of incongruence within dyads in terms of conflicting perspectives on how to manage the heart failure are new and important concepts presented in studies presented in this review. Heart failure patients and their caregivers still lack sufficient palliative care and communication on prognosis and end-of-life care. More research is needed to determine the optimal time to start palliative interventions to support caregivers of patients with advanced heart failure.

Access source material through DOI

Socioeconomic factors associated with trajectories of caring by young and mid-aged women: a cohort study

Background: The health and socioeconomic outcomes from being a caregiver are well described. In contrast, the long-term trajectories of caring undertaken by women, and the demographic, socioeconomic status, health status and health behaviour characteristics associated with these trajectories is not well known.

Methods: The data were from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Participants were 14,202 women born 1973–78 followed for 13 years, and 12,282 women born 1946–1951 followed for 9 years. Latent class analyses and multinomial logistic regression were used.

Results: Five distinct trajectories of caring were identified for the younger women: these represented ‘ongoing’, ‘starting’, ‘never’ and 2 types of ‘transitional’ caring. While traditional indicators of poorer socioeconomic status were associated with trajectories representing ‘ongoing’ and ‘starting’ caring, they were not associated with ‘transitional’ caring trajectories. Three distinct trajectories of caring were identified for the mid-age women: these represented ‘ongoing’, ‘starting’ and ‘never’ caring. For the mid-age women, poorer socioeconomic status indicators were associated with the ‘ongoing’ caring, but not ’starting’ caring.

Conclusions: Women in the 1973–78 cohort showed more varying and transitional caring trajectories compared to those in the 1946–51 cohort, and these trajectories were not associated with traditional socioeconomic indicators. An ‘opportunity cost’ theory for who become carers does not support young transitional carers or mid-aged women beginning new caring. Health policies, education and awareness campaigns for women carers need to target outside previously identified populations.

Access source material through DOI
Original source (some source materials require subscription or permission to access)

Treatment decision-making in cancer care: the role of the carer

Aims and objectives.  This study explores the role of the carer in treatment decision-making in cancer care.

Background.  Literature about involvement in treatment decision-making tends to focus on patients and clinicians, with the carer rarely included. The absence of carers is problematic because the management of illness is often carried out in the context of complex networks of relationships. Although current policy encourages health care practitioners to work in partnership with family members, implementation is troubled by a lack of understanding of the significance of interpersonal relationships and interactions and the role of the relationship throughout the course of the illness experience. Despite awareness, there is little systematic, coherent analysis of the complexity of these interactional dynamics and, in particular, consideration of the implications for involvement and treatment decision-making.

Design.  Qualitative, longitudinal.

Methods.  Three serial semi-structured interviews with 66 patients and 43 carers within the first year following a diagnosis of cancer. A descriptive and thematic approach to data analysis was adopted.

Results.  Carers are involved in treatment decision-making in cancer care and contribute to the involvement of patients through their actions during, before and after consultations with clinicians. Carers can act as conduits for information from patient to clinician and from clinician to patient. They can also act as facilitators during deliberations, helping patients to consider whether to have treatment or not and which treatment.

Conclusions.  Our study has highlighted the deficiency of models that fail to acknowledge the role of the carer in the treatment decision-making process. We propose the adoption of a relational approach by the inclusion of the carer in conceptual frameworks and recommend triadic (patient, carer and professional) models of involvement.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Cancer care clinicians should recognise and actively involve the carer as well as the patient in treatment decision-making.

Access source material through DOI