Investigation of the Relationship Between Patients’ Characteristics and their Caregivers’ with the Clinical Features of Pressure Ulcers

Introduction: Family is the foundation of a long-term care and informal / family caregivers undertake, in whole or in part, both general care of the patient at home and local care of pressure ulcers. Caregivers often lack of relevant training and support while their profile and the effectiveness of their interventions have not been sufficiently clarified.Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the demographic and social characteristics, informal, remunerated or not, caregivers of patients, with pressure ulcers in the community and their possible correlations with clinical characteristics of ulcers. Material and Method: It was implemented a cross-sectional survey on a random sample of 100 couples of pressure ulcer patients and their caregivers after one year of home visits by the principal investigator. Mean values and standard deviations were applied to describe the quantitative variables while absolute (N) and relative (%) frequencies were used to describe the qualitative variables. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed for the variables’ relations. The statistical program SPSS 19.0 was used for statistical analysis. The statistical significance was set at 0.05. Results: The mean age of the patients’ sample was 75.0±15.9 years while 52% of them were men. The sacral region was recorded by the clinical assessment of pressure ulcers as the most frequent location while half of the ulcers (51%) showed lesions of total skin thickness compatible with stage IV. The formal caregiver was one of the patient's adult children (72%), female (84%), with a mean age of 52.6±12 years, while a large proportion were married (81%), with secondary education level (55%) and of Greek origin (81%). The older age of caregiver (p=0m012), the involvement of a nurse in care (p=0.031), as well as the foreign caregiver were positively correlated with some of the clinical features of the ulcer (p<0.020). Conclusions: In the present study was seen the important role of caregivers in the care of pressure ulcers and also the weaknesses and advantages associated with their characteristics. It was also appeared that the involvement of nurses in ulcers’ home care is rather insufficient, in our country. A better outcome was performed when the caregiver was a woman, aged> 50 and a foreigner. On the contrary, the cohabitation between patient and caregiver seemed to be associated with less good ulcers’ status.