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JOURNAL ARTICLE

African-American caregivers' expectations of physicians: gaining insights into the key issues of caregivers' concerns

Vicki T Lampley-Dallas, James W Mold, Denise E Flori
Journal of National Black Nurses' Association: JNBNA 2005, 16 (1): 18-23
16255311
This qualitative study was done to determine what expectations, if any, African-American caregivers' have of physicians; what were the various causes of caregivers' distress, and what were the participants' perceived level of satisfaction or lack of satisfaction with the physician-patient-caregiver relationship The participants in this current study were either providing or had provided assistance in the activities of daily living of elders diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia. Focus group methodology was used and participants were recruited from Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. A total of 13 participants, whose mean age was 53.8 years of age and whose education was at least that of high school graduate, participated in the study. The majority of the caregivers were children who were caring for parents. The participants were asked three basic questions relating to their experiences or frustrations and the questions were followed by a 45-minute discussion to allow for further elaboration. The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and the Zarit Burden Interview, combined with a demographic information form, was used to define the characteristics of the caregivers (Sheik, et al., 1986; Zarit, Reever & Bach-Peterson, 1980; Vitaliano, Russo, Yung, Becker, & Maiuro, 1991; National Center for Cost Containment, 1993). Findings from this study suggest that of the 13 participants only 2 could be classified as depressed. However, the caregivers expected information, referral for services and assistance in recognizing disease progression. These elements were sometimes lacking as well as not always having effctive caregiver-physician interaction. Greater attention by physicians to the needs, stressors, and expectations of African-American caregivers may improve the caregiver-physician interaction and may reduce caregiver stress. Further studies in this area can add to the sparsely available information.

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