Caregiving can be a stressful task with severe consequences on caregivers' health. Our aim was to evaluate the profile and the burden of caregivers of patients with home artificial nutrition (HAN) in our area.SUBJECTS/METHODS:
We conducted a prospective observational study of patients who had started HAN over a period of a year (n = 573) and their home caregivers (n = 103). Epidemiological characteristics of the patients and the type of HAN were registered. Caregivers' profile data (gender, age and degree of kinship) and Zarit Burden Assessments were recorded.RESULTS:
Care recipients had a median age of 79.0 (IQR 87) years, neurological and oncological diseases in 50% and a high rate of mobility limitations (80%). Oral supplements with high-calorie formulas were predominant (60%). The usual caregiver profile was a patient's daughter with a mean age of 53.1 (s.d. 13.4) years acting as the primary caregiver. Burden was absent in 49.5%, light in 18.4% and intense in 32% of caregivers. Intense burden was more frequent in oral over enteral nutrition (42% versus 22.6%; P = 0.036). Supplementary nutrition was also associated with higher caregiver burden scores compared with complete diets. In patients with functional limitations, a tendency toward a slightly higher burden was observed. No differences in caregiver burden were detected according to other patient or caregiver characteristics.CONCLUSIONS:
HAN type appears to be a factor influencing caregiver burden and therefore, evaluation of caregiver burden should be part of HAN programs.