Introduction In chronic debilitating disorders, caregiving can be stressful and may contribute to serious illness and depression. However, in less debilitating disorders, such as IBD, limited data are available about the impact of the disease on caregiver’s well-being. Our aim was to identify the emotional and physical distress among family caregivers of IBD patients in order to provide preventive services to an at-risk but hidden population.
Methods Over a 19 month period, in the tertiary referral centre for IBD in Central Greece, we interviewed 44 family caregivers of Crohn’s Disease (CD) and 41 of Ulcerative Colitis (UC) patients. Caregiver’s distress was assessed by using the caregiver self-assessment questionnaire “How Are You ?” of the American Medical Association. Disease activity was assessed using the Harvey-Bradshaw index for CD and Simple Colitis Activity Index for UC. A card with the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of the population were also collected. The impact of each characteristic on caregiver’s well-being was studied with one and two way ANOVA.
Results 84,7% of the caregivers showed high levels of emotional and physical distress with the majority of them to be middle-aged women (61.2%) with basic educational level (61,2%)and full-time employment (65,9%) at the time of the study. No significant difference found on the level of distress between caregivers of CD and those of UC patients. Factor analysis identified that female gender, active disease, disease related complications and long lasting disease had significant impact on the caregiver’s level of distress.
Family caregivers of IBD patients experience high levels of emotional and physical distress.
Active disease, disease related complications, long lasting disease and female gender have significant impact on caregiver’s level of distress.
It is necessary to organise a network to provide psychosocial services for the caregivers of IBD patients.
Epstein-Lubow G, et al. Evidence for the validity of the American Medical Association’s caregiver self-assessment questionnaire as a screening measure for depression. J Am Geriatr Soc 2010 Feb;58(2):387–8
Epstein-Lubow Family caregiving during healthy aging and illness. Med Health R I. 2012 Jul;95(7):222–3
Disclosure of Interest None Declared.
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