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family caregivers, mental health, neurology, rehabilitation



  1. Hirsch, Oliver
  2. Leyh, Johanna
  3. Karch, Carina
  4. Ferlings, Roland
  5. Schafer, Dietmar


ABSTRACT: The aim of our study was to examine whether a training program for family caregivers of neurological patients has effects on the relatives' depression, prostration, and subjective burden. Fourteen caregivers who participated in a special training program in a German regional neurological rehabilitation hospital and 14 caregivers in the control group were assessed with the Geriatric Depression Scale, the prostration scale of the Giessen Discomfort Questionnaire, and the Caregiver Burden Scale after admission, before discharge, and 1 month after discharge in a telephone interview. Mean depression, prostration, and burden scores were relatively low in both groups. There were no significant variations of depression scores over time within both groups. We found a significant reduction of prostration scores over the three measurement points in the control group. The decrease of the total burden score within the intervention group had a high effect size. Patients in both groups improved remarkably in their Barthel indices. The low psychological complaints in both groups might be associated with a cohort effect. In elderly caregivers, self-disclosure is regarded more negatively compared with younger people. The remarkable improvement of patients in both groups might have been supported by the presence of their caregivers during rehabilitation.