Print version ISSN 0213-9111
HERVAS, Adolfo; CABASES, Juan and FORCEN, Tarsicio. Cost of informal care for stroke victims in a non-institutionalized general population. Gac Sanit [online]. 2007, vol.21, n.6, pp. 444-451. ISSN 0213-9111. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0213-91112007000600002.
Background: Stroke has a strong social impact since it causes disability, leading to dependency and the need for informal care. Although awareness of the importance of dependency is increasing, registries of the cost of informal care are lacking and consequently the real value of this activity to society is still unknown. Objectives: To calculate the cost of informal care of stroke victims in a general population, evaluate these costs according to patients' degree of dependency, and perform a one-way sensitivity analysis with variable unit costs from diverse sources. Material and methods: Of all the patients with stroke diagnosed at 12-31-2004 (n = 95) among the population within a district health service of Navarre (Spain), 40 (44.4%) required informal care. Dependency for activities of daily life was evaluated by means of the Barthel (basic activities of daily life [BADL]) and Lawton-Brody indices (instrumental activities of daily life [IADL]). Time of informal care was evaluated following a bottom-up approach and diary survey method. Results: The cost of the informal care of patients with stroke was 21,551.28 euros per year. According to the sensitivity analysis the range varied from 6,490.80 to 31,436.72 euros per year. Statistically significant differences in the cost of informal care were found according to patients' degree of dependency (BADL: 24,865.2 euros per year; IADL: 10,442.9 euros per year). Conclusions: The cost of informal care in ictus is high and is directly related to the degree of dependency.
Keywords : Informal care; Caregivers; Costs; Social costs; Cerebrovascular disease; Stroke; Dependency; Bottom-up approach.