Longitudinal predictors of informal and formal caregiving time in community-dwelling dementia patients
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Care provided in the community for dementia patients on an individual basis may be very time consuming. Yet, little is known about the factors affecting caregiving time for community-dwelling dementia patients. Thus, we aimed to investigate the predictors of informal and formal caregiving time for these patients in a longitudinal approach.
Caregiving time for n = 126 community-dwelling dementia patients was assessed by proxy interviews in four assessments at 6-month intervals (1.5 years of longitudinal follow-up; AgeCoDe study). Measurement of informal caregiving time was based on a German adaptation of the Resource Utilization in Dementia questionnaire. Dementia severity was measured by the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR). We used random effects models to estimate the effects of sociodemographic variables (age, gender, marital status and education), comorbidity and dementia severity on informal and formal caregiving time.
At the first assessment, mean age was 85.0 years (±3.2 years). The majority of patients was female (65.9 %), not married (divorced, single, widowed: 55.6 %) and had primary education (63.5 %). Furthermore, mean GDS was 4.4 (±0.8) and mean MMSE was 20.1 (±5.1). According to CDR, 43 individuals had very mild dementia, 55 individuals had mild dementia and 28 individuals had moderate/severe dementia. Moreover, mean total caregiving time was 3.4 h per day (±4.0). Thereof the main part represents informal caregiving time (2.3 h ± 3.4), whereas formal caregiving time was 1.2 h (±2.4). Dementia severity was associated with total caregiving time, mainly influenced by informal caregiving time. Age was positively associated with total caregiving time, driven by formal caregiving time, while being married was positively associated with total caregiving time, mainly affected by informal caregiving time. All need categories of informal caregiving time were strongly related to dementia severity, whereas none of the categories of formal caregiving time were related to dementia severity.
Our findings extend previous studies that found an association between informal caregiving time and dementia severity. Moreover, our findings highlight the role of informal care for community-dwelling dementia patients in Germany. Informal caregiving time strongly increases with dementia severity. Consequently, as the number of patients suffering from dementia is expected to increase considerably in the next decades, there is a paramount need to strengthen the informal care system to meet patients’ needs.
KeywordsInformal caregiving time Formal caregiving time Dementia Longitudinal study
The authors thank two anonymous reviewers who provided insightful comments to strengthen the manuscript. Moreover, we want to thank all participating patients and their general practitioners for their good collaboration. This publication is part of the German Research Network on Dementia (KND), the German Research Network on Degenerative Dementia (KNDD), and the Study on Needs, Health Service Use, Costs and Health-related Quality of Life in a large Sample of Oldest-old Primary Care Patients (85+) (AgeQualiDe) and was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Grants KND 01GI0102, 01GI0420, 01GI0422, 01GI0423, 01GI0429, 01GI0431, 01GI0433 and 01GI0434; Grants KNDD 01GI0710, 01GI0711, 01GI0712, 01GI0713, 01GI0714, 01GI0715, 01GI0716 and 01ET1006B; and Grants AgeQualiDe 01GY1322A, 01GY1322B, 01GY1322C, 01GY1322D, 01GY1322E, 01GY1322F, 01GY1322G).
Members of the AgeCoDe Study Group
Principal Investigators [Hendrik van den Bussche (2002–2011)]: Wolfgang Maier, Martin Scherer.
Heinz-Harald Abholz, Cadja Bachmann, Horst Bickel, Wolfgang Blank, Hendrik van den Bussche, Sandra Eifflaender-Gorfer, Marion Eisele, Annette Ernst, Angela Fuchs, Kathrin Heser, Frank Jessen, Hanna Kaduszkiewicz, Teresa Kaufeler, Mirjam Köhler, Hans-Helmut König, Alexander Koppara, Carolin Lange, Hanna Leicht, Tobias Luck, Melanie Luppa, Manfred Mayer, Edelgard Mösch, Julia Olbrich, Michael Pentzek, Jana Prokein, Anna Schumacher, Steffi Riedel-Heller, Janine Stein, Susanne Steinmann, Franziska Tebarth, Michael Wagner, Klaus Weckbecker, Dagmar Weeg, Jochen Werle, Siegfried Weyerer, Birgitt Wiese, Steffen Wolfsgruber, Thomas Zimmermann.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interests
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The ethics committees of the participating centers approved the study [reference numbers: 050/02 (University of Bonn), 2079 (Faculty of Medicine, University of Düsseldorf), 2817/2007 (Hamburg Medical Association), 309/2007 (Faculty of Medicine, University of Leipzig), 2007-253E-MA (Medical Ethics Commission II, University of Heidelberg at the University Medical Center of Mannheim), 713/02 (Faculty of Medicine, Technical University of Munich)]. The study was conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. All participants gave written informed consent prior to study entry.
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