Objective: Stroke does not only affect the physical state of patients but also the emotional state of their relatives, most effectively their caregivers. The study aims to examine the mood of caregivers experienced with care for patients with stroke who are highly dependent on the assistance and also to establish the relationship between the emotional state of caregivers and the severity of disability of the patients.
Methods: This study contained a total of 76 patients with sufficient cognitive functions and severe physical disabilities with hemiplegia caused by a cerebrovascular accident and their caregivers and 94 controls. The functional state of patients was assessed by the Barthel Index (BI). Furthermore, emotional state of the caregivers was assessed by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and their life quality was assessed by the SF36 Health Survey.
Results: The mean anxiety (9.73 ± 4.88) and depression rates (9.81 ± 5.05) in the caregivers were significantly higher than those in controls (p<0.001, respectively). Significant impairments were observed in both their mental and physical health. Regression analysis also showed a significant negative correlation between the BI scores and the HADS scores.
Conclusion: Caregivers had an impaired emotional state and the level of their anxiety was associated with the severity of functional disability of the patients. Therefore, the support provided to the caregiver might be influential on the functional recovery of the patients.