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Al-Zahrani, Bashihab, Al-Khateeb, and Anwar: The prevalence of psychological impact on immediate caregivers of hospitalized patients – the forgotten part of the equation

Introduction: Psychological impact (i.e. depression, anxiety and stress) among caregivers of hospitalized patients is usually overlooked. Over the past decade there have been many studies on the impact of patients’ hospitalization on caregivers. Previous studies have shown that the rates of anxiety, stress and depression are 42%, 35% and 16%, respectively.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress among immediate caregivers of hospitalized patients and to identify associated factors in a tertiary hospital.

Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study of depression, anxiety and stress among caregivers of hospitalized patients. It was based on structured questionnaires completed by targeted patient’s families and were based on Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) and have been validated for the Arabic-speaking community. The questionnaires were presented to caregivers randomly chosen from each inpatient unit. Data, such as type of illness and chronicity of disease, were collected from chart reviews.

Results: The study showed that the rates of depression, anxiety and stress in caregivers were 72.80%, 76.48% and 61.47%, respectively. Using multiple logistic regression, caregiver depression was found to be associated with female gender [odds ratio (OR) = 0.50; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.257 to 0.836], relationship to patient [husband/wife (OR = 8.2; 95% CI = 2.214 to 30.155)], marital status [unmarried (OR = 2.2; 95% CI = 1.169 to 4.120)], hospital stay [31 days or more (OR = 0.5; 95% CI = 0.252 to 0.956)]. On the other hand, anxiety was found to be associated with relationship to patient [son/daughter (OR = 3.8; 95% CI = 1.565 to 9.418)], education [university or more (OR = 0.2; 95% CI = 0.087 to 0.686)] while stress was associated with female gender (OR = 0.5; 95% CI = 0.281 to 0.983) and relationship to patient [husband/wife (OR = 7.7; 95% CI = 1.967 to 29.992)].

Conclusions: A higher level of DASS scores was found in caregivers. Those factors that most correlated with psychological impact were caregivers’ age, relationship to patient and length of hospital stay.

Acknowledgements: Dr Sultan Al-Khateeb for supervising this project. The cooperation of all participants in medical wards and units was highly appreciated.

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