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Open Access Research article

Health-related quality of life and strain in caregivers of Australians with Parkinson’s disease: An observational study

David H Kelly1, Jennifer L McGinley12*, Frances E Huxham1, Hylton B Menz3, Jennifer J Watts14, Robert Iansek2, Anna T Murphy12, Mary Danoudis12, Brooke Adair1 and Meg E Morris13

Author Affiliations

1 Physiotherapy, Melbourne School of Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Carlton, VIC, Australia, 3010

2 National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence, Clinical Research Center for Movement Disorders and Gait, and Victorian Comprehensive Parkinson’s Program, Kingston Centre, Warrigal Road, Cheltenham, VIC, Australia, 3192

3 Musculoskeletal Research Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia, 3086

4 Center for Health Economics, Monash University, Building 75, Clayton, VIC, Australia, 3800

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BMC Neurology 2012, 12:57  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-57

Published: 17 July 2012

Abstract

Background

The relationship between health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers is little understood and any effects on caregiver strain remain unclear. This paper examines these relationships in an Australian sample.

Methods

Using the generic EuroQol (EQ-5D) and disease-specific Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire-39 Item (PDQ-39), HRQoL was evaluated in a sample of 97 people with PD and their caregivers. Caregiver strain was assessed using the Modified Caregiver Strain Index. Associations were evaluated between: (i) caregiver and care-recipient HRQoL; (ii) caregiver HRQoL and caregiver strain, and; (iii) between caregiver strain and care-recipient HRQoL.

Results

No statistically significant relationships were found between caregiver and care-recipient HRQoL, or between caregiver HRQoL and caregiver strain. Although this Australian sample of caregivers experienced relatively good HRQoL and moderately low strain, a significant correlation was found between HRQoL of people with PD and caregiver strain (rho 0.43, p < .001).

Conclusion

Poor HRQoL in people with PD is associated with higher strain in caregivers. Therapy interventions may target problems reported as most troublesome by people with PD, with potential to reduce strain on the caregiver.