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A comprehensive assessment of informal caregivers of patients in a primary healthcare home-care program

Background: Studies of the characteristics of informal caregivers and associated factors have focused on care-receiver disease or caregiver social and psychological traits; however, an integral description may provide better understanding of informal caregivers’ problems. Methods: A multicenter cross-sectional study in primary healthcare centers was performed in Barcelona (Spain). Participants were a random sample of informal caregivers of patients in a home-care program. Findings: Primary outcomes were health-related quality of life and caregiver burden, and related factors were sociodemographic data, clinical and risk factors, social support and social characteristics, use of healthcare services, and care receivers’ status. In total, 104 informal caregivers were included (mean age 68.25 years); 81.73% were female, 54.81% were retired, 58.65% had high comorbidity, and 48.08% of care receivers had severe dependence. Adjusted multivariate regression models showed health-related quality of life and the caregivers’ burden were affected by comorbidity, age, time of care, and dependency of care receiver, while social support and depression also showed relative importance. Aging, chronic diseases, and comorbidity should be included when explaining informal caregivers’ health status and wellbeing. Conclusions: The effectiveness of interventions to support informal caregivers should comprehensively evaluate caregivers when designing programs, centering interventions on informal caregivers and not care receivers’ conditions. : 

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International Journal Of Environmental Research And Public Health
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