Abstract 12343: Cardiovascular Risk Reduction in Rural Family Caregivers: Evidence of Effectiveness Despite Caregiver Demands
Introduction: Despite caregivers being at high risk for development of cardiovascular disease (CVD), their engagement in self-care is poor due to physical and emotional demands of caregiving. The purpose of this study was to examine whether a 12-week self-care intervention improved CVD risk reduction and reduced stress for family caregivers living in a limited healthcare environment in rural Kentucky.
Method: A total of 526 rural adults (mean age 51years,73% female) participated in the pre-post design intervention study. Outcomes measured baseline, 3 and 6 months included depressive symptoms (i.e., the Patient Health Questionnaire-9) and CVD risk (i.e., blood lipid profile, blood pressure, body mass index). Framingham CVD risk scores were computed based on collected data. Participants were grouped as caregivers (13%), non-caregivers with ill family (18%), and non-caregivers without ill family (69%) based on self-report of caregiving status. Repeated measure ANOVA was used to compare outcomes among the 3 groups.
Results: Reduction of depressive symptoms was greater in caregivers than non-caregivers at 6 months (p =.028). Framingham CVD risk score was significantly reduced at 3 months for caregivers and at 6 months for non-caregivers (Figure 1). Caregivers had significant reductions in BMI, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein, triglycerides at 3 months but only improvement in low density lipoprotein was sustained at 6 months. In contrast non-caregivers had reduced BMIs and sustained improvement in their entire lipid profile at 6 months.
Conclusion: Rural family caregivers received the greatest long-term benefit with regard to reduction of depressive symptoms via this self-care intervention. Their CVD risks were reduced after the self-care intervention at 3 months but this was not sustained at 6 months. Long-term CVD risk reduction effects may require additional reinforcing sessions for family caregivers due to focus on their caregiving demands.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.