Burden and associated pathologies in family caregivers of Alzheimer's disease patients in Spain

Pharm Pract (Granada). 2015 Apr-Jun;13(2):521. doi: 10.18549/pharmpract.2015.02.521. Epub 2015 Jun 15.


Objectives: To evaluate the profile of family caregivers of Alzheimer's disease patients, identify any signs of psychopathology, quantify the level of perceived burden on the caregiver, and determine the caregiver's relationship with their pharmacist.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at a community pharmacy in Pontevedra, Spain. Demographic variables were collected, and the following questionnaires were administered: the Beck Depression Inventory-II, STAI-Anxiety Questionnaire, Zarit Burden Scale, family APGAR scale, and the Duke-UNC questionnaire.

Results: The typical caregiver profile consists of a 55-year old first degree relative (mostly daughters) with a primary education who belongs to a functional or mildly dysfunctional family. Nearly one quarter (24%) of caregivers had a high perception of burden, with anxiety in 20% of caregivers and symptoms of depression in 20%. Family caregivers usually went to the same pharmacy as the patients (96%), were treated with psychotropic drugs (68%), and interacted with the pharmacist (92%).

Conclusion: This study confirmed that psychological distress and burden is present among family caregivers. Care for caregivers should be integrated into patient care as part of a national plan, including grants and subsidies, which will result in better care of Alzheimer's patients. Pharmacists are the most accessible health care professionals and can provide information about Alzheimer's disease management to caregivers to ease the burden of care.

Keywords: Alzheimer Disease; Caregivers; Cost of Illness; Pharmacists; Professional Role; Spain.