The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of Depression among family caregivers of patients diagnosed with cancer and are on active treatment
Materials and methods:
We enrolled 324 caregivers of patients who were under treatment in Meenakshi Mission hospital and research centre, Madurai, with either radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy during the period from Dec-2011 to Apr-2012. We recorded demographic data for both patients and caregivers. Beck's depression Inventory was applied for assessing the depression in family caregivers. The data collected was recorded, tabulated and analysed.
Majority of caregivers were males (n= 192,59.3%). Fifty two(16%) out of 324 caregivers were illiterate, 128(39.5%) were educated up to middle school,68(21%) completed Masters and the rest completed only secondary education.
Majority(n=188,58%) had a depression score of >13. Of 324 caregivers , 56(17.3%) had borderline depression (BDI score 17-20).Sixty four(19.8%) caregivers were clinically depressed.(BDI of 21 and above).Two hundred and thirty two families were having financial issues for getting treatment. Out of these, 92 caregivers (39.7%) had features of more than borderline depression ( BDI > 17).
Depression was highly prevalent among family caregivers of cancer patients. Financial constraints were the major predictors of depression in these subjects. Insurance cover , if existing would have reduced the financial burden and in turn will reduce the psychological distress in these families.