Recognizing burden and quality of life of family caregivers of frail elderly

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to analyze the correlation between the levels of functional dependence of elderly living in the community, the burden related to care and the perception of quality of life in familiar caregivers. METHODS: This is an observational, descriptive and analytical study, using non probabilistic sampling selected by convenience in the period from December 2008 to May 2009, in the urban area of Curitiba and Colombo, state of Paraná, Brazil. Interviews were applied to caregivers, using demographic inquiry, functional evaluation of the aged, burden interview (Zarit-Burden-Interview) and quality of life instrument (WHOQOL-Bref). Spearman, Mann-Whitney and Kruskal Wallis coefficients were used to analyze the correlations between instruments and socio-demographic variables. Bivariate analyses identified which variables correlate with burden, and the most significant were included in a multiple linear regression. RESULTS: Forty-five caregivers were interviewed, mostly women (91.11%) with high educational level attending dependent elderly (66.77%). Moderate/severe burden was perceived in 75.55% of the sample. We found correlation between dependence, more severe burden in caregivers (r=-0.281, p=0.013) and worse perception of quality of life. The multiple linear regression identified strong association between burden related to care and psychological domain from WHOQOL-bref and time as caregiver (R²=0.58, p<0.001). CONCLUSION: In a sample of familiar caregivers, we identified correlations between lower burden related to care and better quality of life perceptions, as well as higher disability and less satisfactory quality of life perceptions.

Aged; Caregivers; Quality of Life; Home Nursing; Homebound Persons

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