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Impact of a Training Program for Caregivers of Neurological Patients on Depression, Prostration, and Subjective Burden

Hirsch, Oliver; Leyh, Johanna; Karch, Carina; Ferlings, Roland; Schäfer, Dietmar

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: April 2014 - Volume 46 - Issue 2 - p 97–105
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000036

ABSTRACT The aim of our study was to examine whether a training program for family caregivers of neurological patients has effects on the relatives’ depression, prostration, and subjective burden. Fourteen caregivers who participated in a special training program in a German regional neurological rehabilitation hospital and 14 caregivers in the control group were assessed with the Geriatric Depression Scale, the prostration scale of the Giessen Discomfort Questionnaire, and the Caregiver Burden Scale after admission, before discharge, and 1 month after discharge in a telephone interview. Mean depression, prostration, and burden scores were relatively low in both groups. There were no significant variations of depression scores over time within both groups. We found a significant reduction of prostration scores over the three measurement points in the control group. The decrease of the total burden score within the intervention group had a high effect size. Patients in both groups improved remarkably in their Barthel indices. The low psychological complaints in both groups might be associated with a cohort effect. In elderly caregivers, self-disclosure is regarded more negatively compared with younger people. The remarkable improvement of patients in both groups might have been supported by the presence of their caregivers during rehabilitation.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Oliver Hirsch, PhD, at He is a Neuropsychologist at HELIOS Rehabilitation Centre, Odebornklinik, Am Schlosspark, Bad Berleburg, Germany.

Johanna Leyh, Msc, is a Psychologist in the Department of Psychology,Philipps University, Marburg, Germany.

Carina Karch, Msc, is a Psychologist in the Department of Psychology, Philipps University, Marburg, Germany.

Roland Ferlings, MD, is a Physician at HELIOS Rehabilitation Centre, Odebornklinik, Bad Berleburg, Germany.

Dietmar Schäfer, MD, is a Physician at HELIOS Rehabilitation Centre, Odebornklinik, Bad Berleburg, Germany.

Oliver Hirsch, Roland Ferlings, and Dietmar Schäfer are employees of HELIOS (; otherwise the authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2014 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses