Effects of an exercise intervention for older heart failure patients on caregiver burden and emotional distress

Gerard J. Molloy, Derek W. Johnston, Chuan Gao, Miles D. Witham, Joan M. Gray, Ishbel S. Argo, Allan D. Struthers, Marion E. T. McMurdo

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Abstract

Background The impact of exercise programmes for heart failure on those close to the patient is largely unknown. We examined the effect of a hospital and home-based exercise intervention on burden, anxiety and depression of informal caregivers.

Design The study was a randomized, controlled trial. Heart failure patients were randomized to a seated 12-week hospital-based exercise programme. Caregiver measures were gathered at baseline, 3 months later and 6 months following baseline.

Methods Sixty caregivers (mean age 63.4 years, 65% female) of heart failure patients (n=82, mean age 80.5 years, 44% female) participating in a trial of an exercise intervention were recruited. Caregiver burden, anxiety and depression were assessed.

Results There were no differences in caregiver burden, depression or anxiety between the two groups of caregivers at baseline (caregiver burden, patient control 33.1 versus patient exercise 34.1; anxiety 4.1 versus 5.5; depression 2.8 versus 3.8). At 3 months there were no differences between caregivers in the two groups on outcomes. At 6-month follow-up caregivers of heart failure patients in the exercise group had burden scores that were significantly worse than the control group. There were no differences between the carers of exercise and control groups in anxiety and depression. Levels of anxiety and depression in the entire carer sample were marginally higher than reference values in a healthy non-clinical sample.

Conclusion The present exercise interventions for frail older patients did not benefit caregivers and was associated with an increase in caregiver burden. We suggest that future exercise interventions for heart failure patients should actively incorporate informal caregivers into research designs. (c) 2006 The European Society of Cardiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-387
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006

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Keywords

  • caregiver
  • family caregiver
  • congestive heart failure
  • exercise
  • acute myocardial-infarction
  • hospital anxiety
  • depression scale
  • metaanalysis
  • trials
  • rehabilitation
  • validation
  • ipact
  • need
  • aged anxiety
  • aged, 80 and over
  • ambulatory care
  • caregivers
  • cost of illness
  • depression
  • emotions
  • exercise
  • therapy
  • female
  • heart failure
  • home care
  • services
  • humans
  • male
  • middle aged
  • stress
  • psychological

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