PhD Scientific Days 2023

Budapest, 22-23 June 2023

Mental Health Sciences IV.

Examination of the burden of family members caring for a demented patient

Dallos Rita, PhD Student, Semmelweis University, Doctoral School of Mental Health Sciences, Budapest

Text of the abstract

There are nearly 60 million dementia patients worldwide, who are mostly cared for by family members. We have little information on the physical, mental and economic burden of the relatives and on the examination of social support.

In our research, we are looking for a correlation between the spending of care time by family members caring for a patient with moderate dementia and the caregiver's somatic symptoms and the onset of depression.

Our research was conducted using an online questionnaire of family members caring for patients with moderate dementia (n=152). In addition to demographic questions, we assessed the time spent on caregiving (how many years, how many hours a day you care), the presence and severity of the most frequently occurring subjective physical symptoms using the somatic symptom list PHQ-15, and the occurrence of depression symptoms using the abbreviated Beck Depression Scale.
We performed descriptive statistics and correlation tests to present our results.

The results are in line with international research data. 88.16% of respondents (n=152) are women (134 people), while only 11.84% are men (18 people). The average age of women is 53.48 years, for men 64.2 years. On average, the respondents spend 5.25 hours per day caring for their relative for 3.75 years. From the somatic symptom list, waist and back pain (72%), fatigue, exhaustion (97%), sleep problems (63%), stomachache (27%), joint pain (36%) should be highlighted. Based on the depression scoring scale, it should be highlighted that 34.87% of the sample (53 people) indicated a value greater than 20 points, so in their case the symptoms of moderate depression are typical. As the duration of care and time spent increases, the appearance of symptoms of depression increases, as well as the presence of a higher proportion of fatigue and exhaustion among the somatic symptoms.

In order to avoid depression and somatization among caregivers, it would be necessary to develop a supportive social and health background so that caregiver burdens are minimized by reducing caregiving time. In the future, the relationship between the phenomena should be examined together with other possible mediator variables.

This was a PhD-grant founded study.