The Effect of COVID19 on the Caregivers of Dementia Patients

Date

2021

Authors

Whittaker, Eric
Oderberg, Jane

ORCID

0000-0002-4244-1942 (Whittaker, Eric)

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Abstract

Purpose Investigating the effects of COVID19 on caregivers of dementia patients is paramount because of challenges such as limited resources, separation from patient, and neglect of personal health. By evaluating these effects on caregivers we can improve pandemic response to improve healthcare outcomes. This inquiry focused on describing the impact of COVID on caregivers of patients with dementia using survey data. Methods Inclusion criteria selected for caregivers of dementia patients from the UNTHSC Dementia CARES Program in 2019 (Quality Improvement Project). 17 caregivers responded to a survey during summer 2020. Participants rated how often they experienced situations due to COVID changes on a scale of "never" to "nearly always." Responses were analyzed using Qualtrics. Results Results indicate 18% of caregivers felt overwhelmed during COVID. Nearly 25% reported mental health concerns and an equal proportion felt their life would be less challenging without restrictions. Most participants never faced unique financial challenges and reported the availability of services was adequate. 35% reported difficulty attending to personal health needs because of COVID related changes to their caregiving role. Conclusions The results suggest a need to address mental health, personal health, and unique challenges from the pandemic. Financial burden was less of a challenge, however conclusions are limited due to sample size. This investigation is relevant because to treat dementia patients holistically, physicians must address the health of those who influence outcomes. By increasing data and awareness we can improve outcomes for caregiver and patient during future pandemics through quality patient care and policy.

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