Profile, burden, and quality of life of Israeli stroke survivor caregivers: a longitudinal study

Zohar Nir, Chaya Greenberger, Yaacov G Bachner
Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: Journal of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses 2009, 41 (2): 92-105
The aims of this study were to (1) delineate the sociodemographic profile of Israeli primary caregivers of stroke survivors; (2) examine the changes in caregivers' burden, physical and emotional health, social support network, and quality of life (QOL) during the first 6 months after the stroke occurrence; and (3) identify the predictors of caregivers' QOL for that time period. Primary caregivers (N = 140) were assessed at three intervals during this period: within 2 weeks after the stroke occurrence, in the geriatric rehabilitation ward, and at 3 and 6 months poststroke in the community. Results of the study revealed that during the 6-month period, caregivers' physical health remained stable. After 3 months, depression levels decreased, as did the need for instrumental support in and outside the home. Nevertheless, satisfaction with informal support and family relationships decreased, as did QOL. Burden decreased consistently at 3- and 6-month intervals. After 6 months, perception of health and QOL improved, whereas the other variables remained stable. These results indicate that overall, this population of caregivers adapted to their role over the 6-month period. At each of the three intervals, QOL was explained by the same four variables, although with differential weights: number of diseases, confidence in the support system, burden, and sharing a household with the survivor. The results of this study contribute to nurses' ability to identify caregivers at risk and develop appropriately timed interventions for empowering caregivers in their role fulfillment.

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