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Predictors of registration with continuing care and the utilization of support services by family caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease patients Klassen, Lillian

Abstract

This is a cross-sectional exploratory study designed to examine factors associated with the registration and use of Continuing Care (CC) support services by the caregivers and Alzheimer patients. Registration with CC was related to several of the need characteristics of both the patient and the caregiver. The patient's level of impairment as measured by the Functional Rating Scale (FRS) and the Present Functioning Questionnaire (PFQ) was significantly higher for those patients registered with CC. A greater degree of caregiver burden admeasured by the Zarit Burden Interview was reported by caregivers of patients who were registered with CC. The Burden Interview was subjected to a factor analysis revealing 5 scales measuring different aspects of burden. When examined individually with respect to registration, three of the scales: emotional burden, social intrusion and demand burden surfaced as being significantly associated. It was noted that a total burden score can mask the specific aspects of burden which are related to the outcome. In a closer examination of those who were registered with CC, characteristics of patients and caregivers were examined, comparing those utilizing support services with those not utilizing services. The two groups did not differ significantly with respect to any characteristics. These findings suggest that caregivers may be prone to view registration with CC more as a last resort than a collaborative effort in the interim period. Possible attitudes and perceptions held by caregivers and patients are discussed as influential factors related to utilization practices. Implications for the Canadian Healthcare System and the role of healthcare professionals are also addressed. The need for a longitudinal study is noted due to the dynamic, yet progressive nature of Alzheimer's Disease and the ensuing burden connected with caring for a patient.

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