Learning Objective 1: This Family Strain Questionnaire recognizes the psychological problems of caregivers
Learning Objective 2: This Questionnaire can address the severity of stress and permits categorization of caregivers by psychological risk
Background: Individuals caring for chronic patients usually suffer from psychological problems which are sometimes underestimated by medical professionals and are consequently not adequately treated. Therefore the clinical nurses, have to recognize the psychological problems of caregivers. To do so, the need to quickly measure the problem’s severity and track it over time with no training on psychological diagnosis.
Method: Principal caregivers (n= 23) completed the Family Strain Questionnaire in its original form
( semi-structured interview, plus 44 dichotomous items administer in about 20 minutes), aimed at investigating the subjective perception of emotional burden, problems in social involvement, the need for more information about the disease, satisfaction with family relationships and thoughts about death. Data were analyzed using the Rasch model for the reduction of items. Thirty items were selected and reanalyzed in a new sample of 20 caregivers.
Results: Thirty items selected showed a good fit statistics and maintained the diagnostic qualities of the original form. They contained the Family Strain Questionnaire – the short form that caregivers can administer in about 5 minutes. This brief measure can address the severity of stress and permits categorization of caregivers by psychological risk.
Conclusion: This study confirms that the Family Strain Questionnaire – short form offers an initial measure of caregivers’ psychological status, regardless of the patient’s disease and allows professionals to monitor it over time with a rapid and effective instrument.
Relevance to clinical practice : Clinical nurses should find the Family Strain Questionnaire- Short form useful for assessing caregiver strain. The instrument is quick and easy to sues and does not require any psychological training.
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