Schizophrenia is a debilitating condition that makes it difficult for patients to perform routine daily tasks or hold a job. The impairments caused by schizophrenia’s symptoms require caregivers to be more heavily involved in patients’ day-to-day activities. While the effects of schizophrenia on patients are well known, the burden of caring for these patients has not been quantified in Europe, making it difficult to empower caregivers and provide adequate support for them.
The extent and impact of caring for a patient
with schizophrenia is not well-known.
To quantify this burden we leveraged data from our National Health and Wellness Survey (NHWS) to profile schizophrenia caregivers and compare their health outcomes to non-caregivers as well as those caring for patients with other conditions.
Those caring for patients with schizophrenia
have significantly decreased mental health.
Across many dimensions, NHWS data showed that those caring for adults with schizophrenia experienced worse health outcomes compared with non-caregivers or those caring for patients with other conditions. The greatest difference among the respondent groups was seen in mental health, with caregivers for patients with schizophrenia reporting significantly lower rates of mental quality of life as measured by the Mental Component Summary from the SF-36v2, a general health quality of life validated instrument. In addition, schizophrenia caregivers were more likely than non-caregivers to experience stress-related comorbidities, including insomnia, headaches/migraines, anxiety and depression. Schizophrenia caregivers also reported a higher level of problems with daily activities than non-caregivers and those caring for patients with other conditions.
In spite of the poor health outcomes often experienced by those caring for adults with schizophrenia, our research indicated that they feel positively about providing care. When asked about their views on providing care for schizophrenia patients, overall reactions were more positive than negative, with more than half of caregivers indicating that providing care was important to them and they wanted to care for the patient. In spite of their willingness to provide care, many also commented that they had inadequate support and financial resources to provide the level of care needed.
Overall, caregivers want to care for patients with schizophrenia,
but lack adequate financial resources and support.
Clearly, caregivers for schizophrenia feel that providing quality care is important and strive to do their best, but there is a gap in the support they’re receiving from family members and from the community, echoing a lack of awareness and needed integration of patients and caregivers in society. For deeper insights into this important health issue, download our white paper. Further information regarding this study can be found in the two peer-reviewed manuscripts below:
- Gupta S, Isherwood G, Jones K, Van Impe K. Assessing health status in informal schizophrenia caregivers compared with health status in non-caregivers and caregivers of other conditions. BMC Psychiatry. 2015 Jul 21;15(1):162.
- Gupta S, Isherwood G, Jones K, Van Impe K. Productivity loss and resource utilization, and associated indirect and direct costs in individuals providing care for adults with schizophrenia in the EU5. Clinicoecon Outcomes Res. 2015;7:593-602.
*2010, 2011 and 2013 surveys
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