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Determinants of quality of life in stroke survivors and their informal caregivers.


Jönsson AC1, Lindgren I, Hallström B, Norrving B, Lindgren A.
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  • 1Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Neurology, University Hospital, S-221 85 Lund, Sweden.


Stroke. 2005 Apr;36(4):803-8. Epub 2005 Mar 10.



BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: We examined longitudinal changes of quality of life (QOL) covering physical and mental factors in an unselected group of stroke patients and their informal caregivers. Our hypothesis was that informal caregivers would have better QOL than patients at both follow-ups, and that changes, if any, would be related to the patients' status.

METHODS: QOL of 304 consecutive stroke patients and their 234 informal caregivers from the population-based Lund Stroke Register was assessed 4 months after stroke onset with the Short Form 36 (SF-36) questionnaire. SF-36 was repeated for both groups after 16 months together with Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-20) for patients.

RESULTS: The patients' mean QOL scores improved between 4 and 16 months after stroke in the socio-emotional and mental SF-36 domains and decreased in the domain physical function. Multivariate analyses showed that the patients' most important determinants of QOL after 16 months were GDS-20 score, functional status, age, and gender. Informal caregivers had better QOL than patients except for the domain role emotional and the mental component summary. The caregivers' most important determinants of QOL were their own age and the patients' functional status.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study highlights depressive symptoms in determining QOL of stroke patients. Despite self-perceived deterioration in physical function over time, several other components of QOL improved, suggesting internal adaptation to changes in their life situations. Informal caregivers of stroke patients may be under considerable strain as suggested by their lower emotional-mental scores.


15761203 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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