Background: RE-KINECT (NCT03062033), a real-world study of possible tardive dyskinesia (TD) in antipsychotic-treated patients, included a questionnaire to assess the effects of patients' abnormal involuntary movements on caregivers.
Aims: To capture the experiences of caregivers who assisted individuals with abnormal involuntary movements that were confirmed by clinicians as being consistent with TD.
Methods: Qualified (nonpaid) caregivers were invited to complete a questionnaire that included the following: caregivers' sociodemographic characteristics, their perceptions about the impact of abnormal involuntary movements on patients, and the impact of these movements on themselves (caregivers).
Results: Of the 41 participating caregivers, 25 (61.0%) were women, 20 (48.8%) were employed full time or part time, and 35 (85.4%) were family members or friends. Based on responses from caregivers who noticed patients' abnormal involuntary movements and were caring for individuals who also noticed those movements, 48.0% of patients had "a lot" of severity in ≥1 body region and 76.0% had abnormal involuntary movements in ≥2 regions. Caregiver ratings were significantly correlated with patient ratings (but not with clinician ratings) for maximum severity of abnormal involuntary movements and the number of affected regions (both p <.05). Based on their own judgments and perceptions, caregivers reported that the patient's movements had "some" or "a lot" of impact on their (caregiver's) ability to continue usual activities (50.0%), be productive (58.3%), socialize (55.6%), or take care of self (50.0%).
Conclusions: Caregivers as well as patients are negatively affected by TD, and the impact of TD on caregivers' lives should be considered when determining treatment options.
Keywords: bipolar/mood disorder; families of the mentally ill; qualitative research; schizoaffective disorder; schizophrenia; tardive dyskinesia.