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The relationship between care burden and social support in Turkish Alzheimer patients family caregivers: Cross-sectional study

DOI: 10.5430/jnep.v3n9p1

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Objectives: Most of the Alzheimer’s patients are looked after at home by family members. Caregivers who are not prepared for looking after these patients are under pressure because of their increasing needs. Both patients and family members need social support provided by not only healthcare professionals but also family, friends and neighbors in order to cope with their physical, psychological, social and economical problems. This study was conducted in order to determine the relationship between care burden and perceived social support of family caregivers who look after an Alzheimer’s patient. Methods: This study was cross-sectional and conducted at a neurology outpatient clinic of a university hospital. 107 family members who take care of an Alzheimer’s patient was included. Personal information form, Barthel Index (BI), Lawton-Brody Index (LBI), Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS), and Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) were used to collect data. The mean, percentage, Shapiro-Wilk, Student T-test, Mann-Whitney U test, One-way ANOVA, Kruskal-Wallis test, and Pearson’s correlation tests were used to evaluate the data. Results: Family caregivers’ average ZBI score was determined to be 53.09 ± 18.19 and average MSPSSS score was 51.78 ± 19.62. Caregivers’ age is 51 and above, who were female, who were illiterate, and who were patients’ spouse had high ZBI scores and low MSPSS scores. It was determined that there was a negatively significant correlation between the caregivers’ ZBI and MSPSS scores (p< .01). The patient’s LBI mean score was 13.98 ± 3.08, and BI mean score was 43.61 ± 13.52. There was a statistically significant relationship between the patients’ LBI and ZBI scores (p< .01). Moreover, there was a statistically significant relationship between the patients’ BI and ZBI scores (p< .01). However, patients’ LBI and BI scores are not statistically related to the MSPSS scores. Conclusions: Motivating family caregivers’ social support networks and encouraging caregivers to make use of these networks will be very helpful in coping with caregiving problems.

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