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Disabil Rehabil. 2003 Sep 16;25(18):1057-64.

Informal caregiving in multiple sclerosis patients: data from the Madrid Demyelinating Disease Group study.

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Veracruzana University, Minatitlán, Veracruz, México.



To describe the profile of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patient caregivers and assess their caregiving burden.


A total of 91 MS patients, recruited from a Spanish longitudinal survey, and their corresponding caregivers were studied. Caregivers were administered a questionnaire that collected social and demographic data, and a generic caregiver burden interview (the Zarit scale). Furthermore, MS patients were administered a specific health-related quality of life (HRQoL) instrument (the modified Spanish version of the Functional Assessment of Multiple Sclerosis).


24.5% of the sample required caregivers to perform activities of daily life. Caregiver profile was as follows: 67% female; mean age, 51.5 +/- 14.1 years; and mean daily time devoted to care, 11.5 +/- 8.2 h. Most caregivers had some type of support, 67% informal and 31.9% formal. The amount of time spent in caring for relatives was the main item determining the burden of MS-patient caregivers. Moreover, MS patient's HRQoL showed a moderate inverse correlation with caregiver burden.


In contrast to previous studies, most Spanish MS-patient caregivers are female, and there is a considerable percentage of parent caregivers. A greater degree of formal support and an improvement in MS patients' HRQoL may serve to reduce caregiver burden.

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