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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


GARRIDO, Regiane  and  MENEZES, Paulo R. Impact on caregivers of elderly patients with dementia treated at a psychogeriatric service. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2004, vol.38, n.6, pp.835-841. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: There is an increasingly number of demented elderly in Brazil but empirical data on the resulting impact on their informal caregivers is still poorly documented. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact on informal caregivers of elderly with dementia. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted at a psychogeriatric unit in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Structured and semi-structured interviews were administered to 49 elderly patients with dementia and their caregivers. The impact on the caregiver was measured using the Zarit Burden Interview. RESULTS: Most patients were females, had an average score of 12.2 in the Mini Mental State Examination and high incidence of disruptive behavior. Caregivers were predominantly females, generally wives or daughters who lived with their patients. The mean impact score was 32.4 (SD 16.7). Variables statistically associated with the level of impact were: degree of kinship between patient and caregiver (p=0.011); caregiver's psychiatric symptoms (p<0.001), and duration of caregiving role (p=0.001). CONCLUSIONS: A high impact on caregivers of demented elderly who required psychogeriatric intervention was detected. Healthcare providers should be able to provide the needed support to caregivers in order to minimize problems to both patients and their caregivers.

Keywords : Caregivers; Aged; Dementia; Interviews; Impact.

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