Spousal caregivers of persons living with dementia (PLWDs) who perform medical/nursing tasks may be at heightened risk for sleep disturbances and associated adverse health consequences, a recent study found. Researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of cross-sectional data from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study and National Study of Caregiving.
Spousal caregivers and PLWDs/proxies were interviewed by telephone at home. The sample included 104 community-dwelling spousal caregivers and PLWDs. Caregivers reported on their sociodemographic and health characteristics, caregiving stressors, negative caregiving relationship quality, and sleep disturbances. PLWDs (or proxies) reported on their health conditions and sleep problems. They found:
- Caregivers who performed a higher number of medical/nursing tasks reported significantly more frequent care-related sleep disturbances, controlling for sociodemographic and health characteristics, caregiving stressors, negative caregiving relationship quality, and PLWDs' sleep problems and health conditions.
- Post hoc tests showed that wound care was independently associated with more frequent care-related sleep disturbances after accounting for the other medical/nursing tasks and covariates.
Polenick CA, Leggett AN, Maust DT, Kales HC. Medical care tasks among spousal dementia caregivers: Links to care-related sleep disturbances. [Published online ahead of print February 4, 2018]. Am J Geriatr Psych. doi:10.1016/j.jagp.2018.01.206.