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Anxiety in Family Caregivers of Hospitalized Persons With Dementia

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Background:

Baseline health and functional vulnerabilities increase the risk for complications in persons with dementia and predispose family caregivers (FCGs) to increased stress.

Methods:

This secondary analysis used a combined quantitative and qualitative approach. Regression analyses examined the contribution of patient and FCG characteristics to FCG anxiety. Interviews with FCGs explored the experiences and responses of FCGs during hospitalization of their family member with dementia.

Results:

Lower patient physical function and higher caregiver strain were associated with higher FCG anxiety. FCGs described the following themes related to the hospitalization: (1) added strain, (2) care-related worries, (3) keeping vigil, (4) need to be heard, and (5) enablers of FCGs.

Conclusions:

Routine evaluation of caregiver strain and baseline patient function is integral to informing the transitional planning for persons with dementia. The FCG responses suggest that a multifactorial approach (family-centered policies of partnership in care, staff education addressing the specialized needs of patients and family members, and attention to promoting functional recovery) may benefit both hospitalized patients with dementia as well as FCGs and warrants future research.
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Keywords: acute care; dementia; family caregiver; function; mixed methods

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Boston College, William F. Connell School of Nursing, Chestnut Hill, MA 2: Department of Occupational Therapy, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University 3: University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD 4: Departments of Neurology, Psychiatry, Nursing, Nutrition, and Population Health, Alzheimer Disease Center and Center for Cognitive Neurology, New York University Langone School of Medicine, New York, NY

Publication date: July 1, 2015

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