ABSTRACT: The research was performed to determine the problems that caregivers experience with patients with Alzheimer disease. The research was carried out qualitatively with those who were responsible for the care of eight Alzheimer patients who were being treated at the Neurology Polyclinics of Gevher Nesibe Hospital at Erciyes University in Kayseri, Turkey. Research data were collected through questionnaires designed to understand the characteristics of the individuals who provided care and focus group interviews. A written consent from the institution and an oral as well as written consent of the individuals were obtained. Focus groups were interviewed in the same setting at different times with two different groups, including four people who agreed to participate in the research. Each interview was conducted by three personnel: a moderator, a reporter, and an observer. Interviews were structured under four main titles: “The changes seen in the individual with Alzheimer disease”; “Physical, social, psychological, and socioeconomical problems that caregivers experienced”; “Precautions taken against the problems”; and “Patients’ expectations of the care.” The interviews lasted for approximately 2 hours. A voice recorder and a written registration form were also used to collect information. Six women and two men constituted the research group. The caregivers stated that the patients had such difficulties as forgetfulness, nervousness, jealousy, childish behavior, deterioration in speech, fear of water, hallucinations, and difficulty in carrying out daily life activities. Caregivers emphasized the fact that they perceived the changes in the patients as deliberate behaviors and thus became annoyed and quarreled with them before diagnosis; however, after diagnosis, they felt remorse and experienced guilt because of their ill-treatment of them. In addition, the caregivers hid the patients and their disease from social surroundings. Caregivers mentioned that they had felt as someone who was helpless, exhausted, and abandoned; they lost their freedom and lacked their taste for life. They felt no confidence in someone else caring for the patient; thus, they neglected their own personal needs. Caregivers reported that they often cried and started to smoke because of these problems. They took precautions, such as making identity cards, helping the patients with their daily life activities, not changing the current order at home, and not leaving the patients alone. Caregivers expressed a desire for assistance from home healthcare personnel, a reliable nursing home where they could leave the patient, and a support group to whom they could share their problems. It was found that the caregivers who provided care to patients with Alzheimer disease experienced multidimensional problems, could not find any professional support, and needed institutional assistance.
Sultan Taşcı, RN PhD, is an associate professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences and the head of the Department of Medical Nursing, University of Erciyes, Kayseri, Turkey.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Pınar Tekinsoy Kartın, RN PhD, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Departmentof Medical Nursing, University of Erciyes, Kayseri, Turkey.
Özlem Ceyhan, RN Msc, is an instructor at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Medical Nursing, University of Erciyes, Kayseri, Turkey.
Gönül Sungur, RN Msc, is an instructor at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Medical Nursing, University of Erciyes, Kayseri, Turkey.
Songül Göriş, RN PhD, is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Medical Nursing, University of Erciyes, Kayseri, Turkey.
Financial support from any organization in this study was excluded.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.