Background: Little is known about the life satisfaction of the person with stroke combined with their caregiver, i.e. the dyad, despite the fact that life satisfaction is an important rehabilitation outcome. The aim of this study was to describe the dyads combined life satisfaction and to understand this in relationship to the perceived impact of stroke in everyday life and caregiver burden.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, the life satisfaction of persons and their informal caregivers was measured in 81 dyads one year post stroke. Their global life satisfaction, measured with LiSat-11, was combined to a dyad score and the dyads were then categorized as satisfied, dissatisfied or discordant. The groups were compared and analyzed regarding levels of caregiver burden, measured with the Caregiver Burden scale, and the perceived impact of stroke in everyday life, measured with the Stroke Impact Scale (SIS).
Results: The satisfied dyads comprised 40%, dissatisfied 26% and those that were discordant 34%. The satisfied dyads reported a significantly lower impact of the stroke in everyday life compared with the dyads that were not satisfied. As expected, dyads that were not satisfied reported a significantly greater caregiver burden compared with the satisfied dyads. The discordant group was further broken down into a group of dissatisfied and satisfied caregivers. The caregivers that were not satisfied in the discordant group perceived a significantly greater level of caregiver burden compared with the satisfied group. Even caregivers who were satisfied with life but whose care recipients were not satisfied reported caregiver burden.
Conclusions: Measuring combined life satisfaction provides a unique focus and appears to be a feasible way of attaining the dyads' perspective. The findings suggest that those dyads with a discordant life satisfaction could be vulnerable because of the caregivers' reported caregiver burden. These findings support the importance of a dyadic perspective and add to the understanding of the reciprocal influences between the caregiver and recipient. This knowledge has clinical implications and contributes to the identification of possible vulnerable dyads in need of tailored support.