Chronic illness affects not only those who suffer it but also the family caregivers.1 The family caregiver assumes various tasks for which in most cases he or she is not ready. To assume the new role generates overhead associated with care.2,3 It has been explored the relationship between overload and gender of the caregiver,4 the time spent caring,5,6 depressive symptoms7 and social support,8,9 but not yet explored the relationship between the overload and the caregiver ability to care.
To determine the relationship between the variables caregiver overload and ability to care of family caregivers of people with chronic non transmissible disease (CNTD) and to determine this relationship in the Colombian regions (Amazon, Caribbean, Andean, Pacific).
Study of quantitative, correlational approach. The sample consisted of 2,040 family caregivers of people with chronic disease in Colombia (200 from Amazon, 1,677 of the Andean region, 86 from the Caribbean región and 77 from the Pacific region). The statistic of choice to determine the relationship between the two variables was the Spearman Rho coefficient. The instruments used were the Zarit Overload Interview (1980),10 which assesses the dimensions of impact, interpersonal, skills and expectations and the Care Skill Inventory proposed by Nkongho (1990),11 which has the dimensions Knowledge, Courage and Patience. Participation in the study was voluntary, and informed consent process was performed.
A weak but statistically significant negative correlation (p < 0.01) in Colombia (-0.219) and the Amazon (-0.289) and Pacific (-0.345) regions was found. In the Caribbean region (-0.483) a moderate and statistically significant negative correlation (p < 0.01) was observed. In the Andean region (-0043) (p = 0.079) there is no relationship between the ability to care and the caregiver burden.
In Colombia and Amazon, Pacific and Caribbean regions, a relationship between the two variables is observed, suggesting that the greater the ability to care, the less the caregiver overload. This may be in connection with some associated cultural protective factors that have yet to be explored. Finding no relationship between the two variables in the Andean region, it is assumed that for this population these variables operate independently and that their comparative evaluation does not determine the improvement of the status of the caregiver.
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11 Nkongho, N. (1990). The Caring Ability Inventory. In: Strickland, OL and Waltz, CF. Measurement of Nursing Outcomes: SelfCare and Coping. Vol. 4th Ed. New York: Springer Publishing Company, pp. 3-16.
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