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Neugaard BI, Andresen EM, Jamoom E. Caregivers' Health-Related Quality of Life: Results from a National Sample. Poster session presented at: North American Congress of Epidemiology; 2006 Jun 23; Seattle, WA.
The burden of informal caregiving for people with disability (PWD) may impact the health of caregivers. We conducted a follow-back survey of caregivers identified from the North Carolina 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. 903 of 5,859 BRFSS respondents (15%) reported they were caregivers: 374 completed the 20-minute survey. The mean age of caregivers was 53 years old, 75% were women, and 16% reported their health-related quality of life (HRQoL) was fair or poor. Few PWD's cared for were children; 20% were 65-74 years old, and 49% were 75+. Level of caregiving burden was measured as an index based on caregiving hours/week and number of activities of daily living (ADLs e.g., bathing/dressing) and instrumental ADLs (e.g., managing finances). Levels ranged from 0-5, with 5 representing the highest amount of caregiving hours and intensity. 17% of caregivers were at Level 4 and 8% provided care at Level 5; the latter represents providing at least 2 ADLS and more than 40 hours/week of caregiving. 31% reported providing at least 21 hours/week on caregiving. Factors associated with the Burden Index included gender of caregiver (higher for women), and increasing age of caregivers and care recipients. Logistic regression evaluated the influence of caregiver burden on reduced (fair or poor) HRQoL. Adjusting for in-home caregiving and distance from PWD, caregiver gender, caregiver/care recipient ages, those with higher levels of burden were at increased risk of having poor HRQoL: The odds ratio (OR) for reduced HRQoL for caregivers at Level 4 was 1.52 (95% CI 0.53, 4.32); at Level 5 the OR was 1.38 (95% CI 0.49, 3.89). Poor HRQoL associated with the burden of informal caregiving should be considered a public health issue and may be amenable to interventions.