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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 1997 Jul;12(7):737-44.

Psychological distress among informal supporters of frail older people at home and in institutions. The Resource Implications Study Group of the MRC Cognitive Function and Ageing Study.

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  • 1Centre for Health Services Research University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Investigate presence of psychiatric morbidity in informal carers using 30-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and examine which factors best predict psychiatric morbidity.

DESIGN:

Two-year longitudinal, panel survey of informal supporters of frail elderly subjects, using semi-structured interview schedules. Subjects were those defined as frail after screening stratified random sample of people aged 65 or over.

SETTING:

Informal supporters of frail elderly subjects residing in private households or residential or nursing homes in four UK districts.

RESPONDENTS:

623 informal supporters of subjects living at home, 129 regular visitors of those in long-term care.

MEASURE:

30-item GHQ (cross-sectional analysis).

RESULTS:

Stepwise multiple regression indicated main predictors of high GHQ scores in key supporters were: subjects had at least three problems of behaviour (b = 1.56, 95% CI 1.25-1.94); supporters had to alter working hours (b = 1.70, 95% CI 1.15-2.51); supporters were female (b =1.26, 95% CI 1.06-1.50). The following variables predicted low GHQ scores: supporters able to leave subject all day (b = 0.71, 95% CI 0.64-0.80); subjects never wandered (b = 0.78, 95% CI 0.62-0.99); supporters were 'other relatives' or friends of subject (b = 0.74, 95% CI 0.59-0.91). For visitors, spouses were most likely to have high GHQ scores (b = 2.46, 95% CI 1.32-4.57).

CONCLUSIONS:

Results suggest the need for greater collaboration between formal and informal care. Little work has been carried out to ascertain which interventions are most effective in alleviating carer stress: a series of randomized controlled trials to determine long-term effectiveness of various interventions for different groups of carers is required.

PMID:
9251936
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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