BACKGROUND: Being a family caregiver for a person with Parkinson's disease (PD) can negatively impact health and wellbeing, but it appears less clear to what extent caregivers' health/social service needs are met.
OBJECTIVE: We explored the extent to which PD family caregivers experience sufficient access to health/social services, as compared to age-matched controls; and the associations between this and demographic and health-related variables.
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of 66 PD family caregivers and 79 age-matched control subjects including the SF-36 health survey, the Nottingham Health Profile Sleep section (NHP-Sleep), and questions regarding contacts with various health/social related services and whether these were perceived as sufficient.
RESULTS: People reporting insufficient access (n = 29) were more often PD family caregivers than controls (83% vs. 37%), did more often have a disease of their own (79% vs. 46%), and reported poorer health according to the SF-36 and the NHP-Sleep. Being a PD family caregiver (OR, 8.90), reporting more pain (OR, 1.02) and having an own disease (OR, 3.46) were independently associated with insufficient health/social service access.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results imply that those in greatest need for health/social services (i.e., those with poorer health, an own disease, and who are PD family caregivers) are those whose health/social service needs are least met. Larger studies are needed for firmer conclusions and regarding how unmet health/social service needs impacts caregiver health and wellbeing. Health/social service providers should not only focus on patients but also consider their family members' needs.
2016. Vol. 6, no 3, 581-587 p.