source: Journal of Neurology
Yi-Jing Lue, Shun-Sheng Chen, Yen-Mou Lu
Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a group of progressive muscle weakness diseases. The caregiver burden, increasing as the disease progresses, can be associated with impaired health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The aims of this study were to investigate the HRQOL in caregivers of patients with MD and identify the factors associated with HRQOL. A cross-sectional assessment of caregiver HRQOL was performed with the Short Form-36 and compared with norms. The factors affecting HRQOL were investigated by patient and caregiver characteristics. The Muscular Dystrophy Functional Rating Scale was used to assess the functional status (mobility, basic activities of daily living, arm function, and impairment) of patients. The demographic data and social interaction activities of caregivers were assessed. Caregivers (n = 62) had poor HRQOL. Caregiver HRQOL was associated with the patient’s functional status, especially in the domains of Vitality and Mental Health. Numerous visits by neighbors and close friends of the caregiver family indicated better HRQOL (in the body pain, general health, vitality, role emotion and mental health domains). Caregiver HRQOL was associated with caregiver education level, while patient age, caregiver age, length of caregiving, and family income were not.
These findings demonstrate that caregivers have poor HRQOL, and the mental domain of quality of life is associated with the patient’s functional status, social interaction, and caregiver education level. We suggest that rehabilitation programs focus on caregiver HRQOL, promote the patient’s functional status with assistive technology, enhance professional caring techniques, and encourage participation in social groups to improve caregiver HRQOL.
Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan