Zhu CW, Scarmeas N, Ornstein K, et al. Health-care use and cost in dementia caregivers: Longitudinal results from the Predictors Caregiver Study. Alzheimers Dement. 2014.
Abstract:OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of caregiver and patient characteristics on caregivers' medical care use and cost.
METHODS: One hundred forty-seven caregiver/patient dyads were followed annually for 6 years in three academic Alzheimer's disease centers in the United States. Logistic, negative binomial, and generalized linear mixed models were used to examine overall effects of caregiver/patient characteristics on caregivers' hospitalizations, doctor visits, outpatient tests and procedures, and prescription and over-the-counter medications.
RESULTS: Patients' comorbid conditions and dependence were associated with increased health-care use and costs of caregivers. Increases in caregiver depressive symptoms are associated with increases in multiple domains of caregivers' health-care use and costs.
DISCUSSION: Findings suggest expanding our focus on dementia patients to include family caregivers to obtain a fuller picture of effects of caregiving. Primary care providers should integrate caregivers' needs in health-care planning and delivery. Clinical interventions that treat patients and caregivers as a whole will likely achieve the greatest beneficial effects.