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Caregiver burden in medical versus psychiatric patients: A cross-sectional comparative study

Background: An informal care-giver is generally an unpaid individual who looks after the personal and medical needs of the patient. India being a country of traditions and family values, this informal care-giver is usually a family member. These care-givers, being untrained in this job undergo tremendous stress. Available research studies the burden individually in the relatives of chronically medically ill patients and those of psychiatrically ill patients. Furthermore the previous research targets the burden in individual diseases. This study stands out as it makes a comparison between the two broad groups, taking into account almost all possible chronic diseases in each group. Methods: This is a cross-sectional analytical descriptive study that was conducted on the family caregivers of chronically medically ill and psychiatrically ill patients, using the Caregiver's Burden Scale. Data were analyzed by SPSS 20 statistical software and Pearson correlation coefficient tests. Significant difference between area of caregiver burden of medicine and psychiatric patients was tested using relative deviate 'Z' of SEDM test at 5% level of significance. Result: There is a significant difference between each category of Caregiver's Burden Scale among chronically medically ill and psychiatrically ill patients. (P < 0.05). Conclusion: The outcome of this study may help the health care providers in designing stress relief programs for primary care-givers. Overall this study may help better delivery systems of care for both the chronically medically ill as well as psychiatrically ill patients, by proper specific framing and psycho education programs for the caregivers of specific chronic illnesses.

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Medknow Publications
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Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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