Evaluating the Psychological Burden and Quality of Life in Caregivers of Patients Under Dialysis
Pp. 167-187 (21)
Georgios K. Tzitzikos and Constantinos M. Togas
Patients with end-stage kideny disease (ESKD) and their caregivers follow a
rigorous program for the needs of treatment with daily restrictions and significant impact
on their lifestyle. In this process, psychosocial factors (educational level, economic status,
family, supportive environment) are involved, that interact with each other, influencing the
subjective experience of disease, while they hinder or facilitate the adjustment of the
individual to the new conditions. Caregivers are usually family members who agree to give
systematic priority to the patient’s needs, neglecting their own, thus becoming vulnerable.
Caregivers carry an increased psychological burden, and are often prone to stress, anxiety
and depression, and their health appears to be compromised. Studies conducted so far show
that caregivers of dialysis patients experience isolation have diminished confidence and
express exhaustion, and generally have low quality of life. Nevertheless, there are mixed
results regarding the extent and severity of impact on their lives and health. Researchers
seem to agree that the most important factor affecting caregivers is the patient’s health
status. The role of caregivers is often invisible and not recognized. To enable caregivers to
cope with the burden borne, support services in the form of consultancy, training, social
care or home care, where appropriate, should be obtained.
General Hospital of Corinth, Renal Department, Hellas, Greece.