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Subjective burdens among informal caregivers of critically ill patients: a cross-sectional study in rural Shandong, China

Background: Informal caregivers are the main source of care for the critically ill, especially after discharge or during the terminal stages at home. However, the concern for informal caregivers is often overshadowed by critically ill patients. Objectives: The purpose of this study is to determine the influencing factors of the subjective burden of informal caregivers and to seek solutions accordingly. Methods: Between July and August 2019, a cross-sectional study was conducted in Shandong, China, focusing on family caregivers and critically ill patients. Subjective caregiver burden was measured by the Chinese version of Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI). The stress process model was used to identify conditions relevant to the caregiving burden and to assess their impact on family caregivers. Results: 554 samples were selected for analysis. The average scores of Zarit Caregiver Burden Interview (ZBI) scores in this study was 30.37±19.04 (n=554). ZBI scores of older, less educated, and spouse caregivers were significantly lower (4.12; 95%CI, 0.42 to 7.81; P =0.029). Objective and subjective burdens increased proportionally. Secondary role stress factors included the higher out-of-pocket (OOP) costs of critical diseases and lower household income, both of which increased caregivers’ subjective burdens (1.28; 95%CI, -0.06 to 2.63; p=0.062). Formal medical aid systems played a positive role in reducing subjective caregiving burdens (-7.31; 95%CI, -13.23 to -1.40; p=0.016). Conclusions: Health policies should address both the direct medical burdens and the intangible psychological burdens of critical diseases. 

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
Type of Work
Journal article
Publisher
Springer
ISBN/ISSN
1472684X
Publication Year
2021
Issue Number
1
Journal Titles
BMC Palliative Care
Volume Number
20
Start Page
167