Characteristics and Prevalence of Depression Symptoms in Caregivers of Patients Undergoing Palliative Care
Family role in taking care of patients undergoing palliative care leads to complex, multidimensional responsibility which may have consequences to the mental health of primary caregivers. Studies have shown that 40 to 70 percent of caregivers experience symptoms of depression. The general objective of this study was to determine the characteristics and prevalence of depressive symptoms among caregivers of patients in palliative care. The population comprised of caregivers of patients undergoing palliative care at the Kenyatta National Hospital. A cross-sectional study was used where questionnaires were administered using Beck‘s Depression Inventory and a researcher designed socio-demographic characteristics questionnaire for the caregivers. The results showed that 62.7% of the caregivers presented with symptoms of depression. This is four times higher as compared to the general population. The severity of the depressive symptoms ranged from mild to severe with the majority experiencing symptoms of severe depression. Spousal caregivers had the highest prevalence of depressive symptoms followed by those who were taking care of their children. The recommendations include having healthcare providers do routine screening for depression in family caregivers and not just on patients alone.
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