Negative caregiving effects among caregivers of veterans with dementia

The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 02/24/2012

Bass DM et al. – Family caregivers, the foundation of long-term care for veterans with dementia who live at home, experience a variety of negative caregiving effects. Negative effects are greater when veterans exhibit behavior problems, require extensive assistance with personal care, and have a greater number of coexisting chronic conditions. Negative caregiving effects are an important target for interventions that support family caregivers and promote continued care at home.

Methods

  • 486 family caregivers of veterans with dementia who received primary care from the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system and lived at home
  • 6 negative caregiving effects were described as follows: unmet needs, 4 role and intrapsychic strains, and depression
  • Predictive factors included the following: cognitive impairment, behavior problems, personal care dependency, number of chronic conditions, and characteristics of caregiving context

Results

  • Sizeable portions of caregivers experienced negative caregiving effects; most common were unmet needs, social isolation, and depression
  • Cognitive, behavioral, and functional symptoms of dementia and other coexisting chronic conditions explained significant variation in all negative caregiving effects
  • Caregiving context had little impact
  • Behavior problems were the most consistent predictor; personal care dependency and other chronic conditions were also important

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