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What are the caregivers' needs on dementia care? An integrated qualitative and quantitative assessment

Dementia is one of the main causes of disability later in life. Interventions in support of patients with dementia aim at granting the highest level of independence in activities of daily living and at delivering the required facilities; formal and informal caregivers represent the interface between patients and health services. The aims of our study were to assess caregivers' perceived needs and to relate them to their own socio-cultural features and to patients' clinical characteristics. During three consecutive months, 50 caregivers of patients with dementia were interviewed about their needs in the assistance of subjects with dementia by means of three structured questionnaires (Caregiver Needs Assessment [CNA], Zarit Burden Inventory [ZBI], Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Questionnaire [NPI-Q]) and of two open-ended questions. Higher scores of CNA (suggestive of more needs) were associated with a major burden in caregiving and were related to a more severe behavioral and psychological profile of patients with dementia. ZBI was highly correlated with NPI distress score. Among caregivers, the children of patients reported more needs, particularly about information on disease and how to cope with it. CNA emerged as a complete and reliable instrument, with need for safety being the only item missing from the questionnaire and identified by means of the open-ended questions. Our results showed how the use of simple and brief instruments can increase the communication between health operators and caregivers and could thus improve the quality of formal and informal assistance.

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Type of Reference
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Journal article
Springer-Verlag Italia
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Neurological Sciences
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