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Quality improvement study on early recognition and intervention of caregiver burden in a tertiary hospital

Background: Caregivers play a crucial role in taking over the important task of looking after patients post-hospitalisation. Caregivers who are unfamiliar with patients' post-discharge care often experience caregiver stress, while patients may see deterioration in their condition. As caregivers are our core partners in healthcare, it is therefore necessary for patient navigators to recognise, assess and address caregivers' needs or burden as early as on admission to hospital. Patient navigators are trained registered nurses whose main role is to provide patients and caregivers with personalised guidance through the complex healthcare system.; Objectives: This quality improvement study examined the efficacy of using the Zarit Burden Interview as a tool in helping patient navigators recognise caregiver burden early and the effectiveness of targeted interventions on caregiver burden.; Methods: Various quality improvement tools were used. Eighty-six patient-caregiver dyads who met the inclusion criteria were enrolled. Informal caregivers were assessed for caregiver burden using the Zarit Burden Interview during hospital admission (T0) and again at 30 days postdischarge (T1), post-intervention.; Results: There was significant improvement in the Zarit Burden mean scores from T0 to T1 reported for the 80 dyads who completed the study, even after adjusting for covariates (T0 mean=11.08, SD=7.64; T1 mean=2.48, SD=3.36, positive ranks, p<0.001). Highest burden identified by most caregivers were the personal strain; trying to meet other responsibilities and uncertain about what to do in caring for their loved one. By recognising the different aspects of caregiver burden early, patient navigators were able to focus their interventions.; Conclusion: Early recognition of caregiver burden and targeted interventions were found to be effective at reducing caregiver burden in a tertiary hospital. 

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BMJ Publishing Group
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BMJ open quality
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