While not all relatives and friends of patients with essential tremor (ET) provide extensive care or experience high burden, there is a group reporting high levels of caregiver burden that requires the attention and counseling of clinicians, a recent study found. This burden is associated with primarily non-tremor symptoms of ET and with caregivers’ perception that their partners are suffering. Data were gathered from 55 ET participants enrolled in a clinical study and their caregivers. Researchers found:
- Some caregivers (11%) provide over 25 hours of care/week, and 13% experience high levels of burden.
- Increased burden was associated with the ET participants’ decreased cognition, more caregiving tasks, more hours/week of caregiving activities, a longer duration of care, more ET participant falls/year, more medications taken by the ET participant, and more depressive symptoms in both the ET participant and the caregiver.
- ET participants’ suffering and their caregivers’ perceptions of suffering were both associated with increased burden.
- Neither tremor severity score nor self-reported tremor disability score was associated with increased caregiver burden.
Morgan S, Kellner S, Gutierrez J, et al. The experience of essential tremor caregivers: Burden and its correlates. [Published online ahead of print August 14, 2017]. Front Neurol. doi:10.3389/fneur.2017.00396.
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