Can rehabilitation in the home setting reduce the burden of care for the next-of-kin of stroke victims?
Ann Björkdahl, Åsa Lundgren-Nilsson and Katharina Stibrant Sunnerhagen
Background: More evidence of the efficacy of caregiver interventions is needed. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether counselling in the home setting reduces the caregiver burden.
Methods: Thirty-six patients after stroke, median age 53 years, with a close family member, were selected for an evaluation of the burden of care and 35 participated. They were part of a randomized controlled trial, comparing rehabilitation in the home setting with outpatient rehabilitation. In the home setting, counselling about the stroke and its consequences was included. Assessments with the Caregiver Burden scale were made at 3 weeks, 3 months and one year after discharge.
Results: The burden of the 2 groups did not differ. After the intervention, there was a tendency to a lower burden for the home setting. The burden for the home setting was then unchanged from 3 weeks to 1 year, while outpatient rehabilitation showed a reduced burden over time. For the home setting, significant correlations to activity level were seen after the intervention.
Conclusion: A positive effect of counselling was seen, as the home setting burden tends to be lower after the intervention, while outpatient rehabilitation seems to adjust with time. The results suggest that counselling reduces burden and the remaining burden is associated with the patient's ability.