Abstract 16846: Caregiver Symptoms and Burden 3 Weeks and 3 Months After Their Spouse’s Cardiac Surgery
Introduction: Caregivers (CGs) play a major role in cardiac surgery patients’ recovery however, little research has examined the trajectory of burden and symptoms experienced by the CG.
Hypothesis: The primary purpose of this longitudinal descriptive pilot study was to describe symptoms (fatigue/inertia, tension/anxiety, depression/dejection, and sleep difficulty) and their relationship to caregiving demand and difficulty in 28 adults caring for their spouses after cardiac surgery.
Methods: Data were obtained telephonically 3 weeks and 3 months after surgery using the POMS-SF, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Oberst Caregiving Burden Scale.
Results: CGs (M = 68.5 ± 6.6 years) were primarily female (92%). In general, mean symptom scores were lower at 3 weeks and increased in severity at 3 months for fatigue/inertia (M = 3.0 ± 2.9 to 3.9 ± 3.6), depression/dejection (M = 1.3 ± 2.3 to 2.2 ± 3.8) and sleep difficulty (M = 3.3 ± 2.1 to 4.1 ± 2.5). Difficulty with caregiving tasks mean scores showed little change between time periods (M = 15.1 ± 4.4 to 16.6 ± 3.7) while time spent giving care decreased (M = 26.2 ± 7.6 to 21.8 ± 6.6). However, significant moderate relationships were found between difficulty with caregiving tasks and caregiver fatigue/inertia (r= .62, p=.002) at 3 weeks only, tension/anxiety at 3 weeks (r = .55, p = .008) and 3 months (r=.58, p=.006), depression/dejection (r=.62, p=.003), and sleep difficulty (r=.55, p=.012) at 3 months after surgery. Significant relationships were found between time spent on caregiving and depression/dejection at 3 weeks (r=.44, p=.04) and at 3 months (r=.44, p=.045) and sleep difficulty at 3 months (r=.46, p=.04).
Conclusions: CGs continued to experience symptoms (anxiety, fatigue, depression, and difficulty sleeping) 3 months after their spouse’s surgery which were moderately correlated with demand and difficulty with CG tasks. These results underscore the need for care transition and discharge coordinators to address CG needs early in the recovery period, which if not alleviated will result in symptoms later on. Further CG research is needed to examine the early recognition of CG symptoms, tailored intervention strategies and outcomes to improve CG personal health status as well as the ability to care for others.
Author Disclosures: P. Schulz: None. L. Zimmerman: None. S. Barnason: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.