Date of Paper

5-2012

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

msw

Department

socialwork

First Advisor

Jessica Toft

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to better understand the effects of caregiver burden as they relate to different dementia diagnoses and the stage of the disease in order to discover appropriate supports and interventions. Potential participants were identified through their use of a specialty memory loss clinic. Using a mixed methodology, respondents completed a survey which included a quantitative measure and qualitative open ended response questions designed to allow the caregiver to expand on their experience. The quantitative portion of this research used the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI), a caregiver self-report measure. Diagnosis information and the patient’s Allen Cognitive Level (ACL) were supplied by the clinic in order to confirm appropriate diagnosis and stage of disease. Moderate ACL scores of 3.5-4.5 appear to increase burden. Caregiving daughters in this study were found to have the highest total ZBI scores, indicative of a higher level of burden than other caregivers. Husbands and wives in this study had identical mean total ZBI scores. The findings indicated several areas of caregiver burden in which social work supports could be valuable. Role transitions, isolation, a lack of social support, and the need for adult day centers equipped to handle patients with dementia related behaviors were all identified as areas of concern.

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