Health Services Research & Development

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Nguyen JT, Roberts C, Thorpe CT, Thorpe JM, Hogan SL, McGregor J, Geryk L, Carpenter DM. Economic and objective burden of caregiving on informal caregivers of patients with systemic vasculitis. Musculoskeletal care. 2019 Jun 1; 17(2):282-287.
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Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Systemic vasculitis (SV) is associated with substantial economic impact to patients and the healthcare system but little is known about the burden of SV on informal caregivers. We evaluated the objective caregiving burden experienced by informal caregivers of patients with SV. METHODS: We surveyed adult patients and their informal caregivers on the physical, emotional, social and economic impacts of SV. We asked patients about the extent to which they felt they were a burden to their identified caregivers. Caregivers reported the direct and indirect economic impact of SV, including employment disturbance, income loss and relative time investment of caregiving for their care recipient's SV. We used the Inventory of Caregiving Activities Questionnaire to compute the objective caregiving burden. RESULTS: We analysed data from 68 SV patient-caregiver dyads. Patients reported moderate levels of subjective burden to their caregivers. Over one-quarter of caregivers reported ever having lost some income owing to caregiving for SV. Caregivers reported spending a median of 19 weekly hours on various caregiving tasks, including a median 17 weekly hours on household activities. DISCUSSION: Given the extended hours that caregivers spend caring for their care recipient, intervention targets should aim to reduce caregiver burnout in the SV population. Future research should examine the relationship between the objective burden of caregiving for SV and the overall physical health, mental health and quality of life of caregivers.