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Falling in Parkinson's disease: the impact on informal caregivers

Purpose: The aim of this study was to explore the views and experiences of the informal caregivers of repeat fallers with Parkinson's disease. Method: Individuals were invited to participate in this study if they were the informal caregiver of a person with Parkinson's disease (PD) who had experienced more than one fall in the previous 12 months. Participants were interviewed about their experience of managing falls using a semi-structured interview schedule. Interview data were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Fourteen caregivers (11 female) participated in the study. All were marital partners of a repeat faller with Parkinson's disease. The average age of the participants was 69.9 years (44 - 79). Their partners had had PD for an average of 16.7 years. Six major themes emerged from the analysis of the interview data, four directly related to falls management (the falls; consequences of the falls for the person with PD; caregivers' experiences of falls; consequences of falls for the caregiver). The majority of caregivers were frightened about their spouse falling. They used a number of methods of getting their spouse up from the floor but often injured themselves as a consequence. Caregivers highlighted the high level of care they provided and the social and psychological impact of the condition on them. They received limited help in looking after their spouse and little information about falls or about the disease in general. Conclusion: Caregivers in this study felt unprepared for their role and expressed a need for more support and advice, especially about managing falls.

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Disabil Rehabil

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