Burden of Care and Psychological Distress in Primary Caregivers of Patients with Type -2 Diabetes Mellitus in A Tertiary Hospital in Nigeria
BACKGROUND: Caregivers play an important role in the management and care of individuals with chronic medical conditions. This is because; they provide emotional, physical, financial as well as spiritual support to their wards. However, the process of caregiving is usually associated with feelings of burden and psychological distress.
METHODS: This study was a descriptive, cross-sectional, clinicbased study done at the endocrinology clinic of a Teaching hospital in Northern Nigeria. It was done utilizing the Zarit Burden Interview, the General Health Questionnaire (12 item version) and a socio-demographic questionnaire designed by the authors. The levels of burden as well as the factors associated with burden and psychological distress in one hundred caregivers of patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus were assessed. Statistical analysis was done using chi square, independent T test and linear regression.
RESULTS: Forty- two percent (42%) of caregivers experienced little or no burden, 47% had mild to moderate burden, 8% had moderate to severe burden, while 3% had severe burden. When the ZBI scores were dichotomized into ‘low’ and ‘high’ burden, 89% were found to experience low burden, while 11% experienced high burden. On logistic regression, females were found to be four times more likely to experience high burden, while Thirty-five (35%) percent of caregivers had a GHQ score of > 3, signifying psychological distress and psychological distress was found to be significantly associated with burden.
CONCLUSION: Many Nigerian caregivers of patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus experience burden and psychological distress associated with caregiving, especially female caregivers and those taking care of those taking care of patients with complications. It is therefore important for clinicians to recognize burdened caregivers and intervene appropriately in order to improve the quality of care of these patients.