Childhood Abuse More Likely With Male Caregiver, especially Mother’s Boyfriend

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Amanda Fingarson, DO  Attending Physician, Child Abuse Pediatrics  Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago  Assistant Professor of Pediatrics  Feinberg Northwestern School of Medicine      

Dr. Fingarson

Amanda Fingarson, DO
Attending Physician, Child Abuse Pediatrics
Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Feinberg Northwestern School of Medicine 

MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: Child physical abuse is a substantial pediatric public health issue, with significant morbidity and mortality. Studies have found that men, particularly children’s fathers and mothers’ boyfriends are common perpetrators of physical abuse. There is still a lack of knowledge, however, about the specific caregiver features that increase a child’s risk for physical abuse.

Our study design was unique, in that it was a multi-center study that compared young children with abusive and accidental injuries.

Our primary finding was that abuse was much more likely when a male caregiver was present, and the resulting injuries were more likely to be severe or fatal. The presence of the mother’s boyfriend was the riskiest scenario, with the highest likelihood of abuse. Similarly, we found that caregiver relationships of less than 1 year increased the odds of abuse. Overall, the likelihood of abuse with female caregivers was much lower, with the exception of female babysitters.  A final important finding of our study was that caregiving arrangements that were different than usual at the time of injury were at increased risk of abuse, suggesting that a stable and consistent caregiver is also important.  Continue reading

Cancer Caregivers Report More Stress Than For Non-Cancer Conditions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Erin Kent, PhD, MS Program Director Outcomes Research Branch of the Healthcare Delivery Research Program National Cancer Institute

Dr. Erin Kent

Erin Kent, PhD, MS
Program Director
Outcomes Research Branch of the Healthcare Delivery Research Program
National Cancer Institute

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Informal or family caregivers assist loved ones by providing care which is typically uncompensated, takes place typically at home, and often involves significant efforts for an extended period of time. Caregiving can require the performance of demanding tasks, which include managing symptom burden, monitoring for side effects from treatment, coordinating care, administering medication, and managing a care recipient’s financial and social obligations. In addition, there are many unique aspects of cancer that can place unique demands on caregivers, including sometimes a rapid deterioration of health, the receipt of multi-modal therapy (eg. surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation), and the possibility of cancer recurrence.

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Hospice Care May Decrease Depression in Surviving Spouses

Katherine Ornstein, PhD MPH Assistant Professor Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine Institute for Translational Epidemiology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1070 New York, NY 10029MedicalResearch.co Interview with:
Katherine Ornstein, PhD MPH
Assistant Professor
Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine
Institute for Translational Epidemiology
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, NY 10029

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Ornstein: There is an increased focus on the need to support caregivers and families, particularly at the End of Life (EOL). They play a critical role in the care process and decision making, yet this can be a very high stress role with an increased risk for negative consequences. Hospice services, which are increasing, are focused on palliative rather than curative care and include medical services, symptom management, spiritual counseling, social services and bereavement counseling delivered by an interdisciplinary team of professionals for dying patients.  An important part of the hospice service is the provision of support to families during illness and after death.  Prior research suggests that hospice (which is cost saving, has benefits to patients), may also  be beneficial to families. Yet these studies have been largely limited to patients with cancer, have failed to adequately control for differences between patients who do or do not use hospice.

Overall, there was an increase in depressive symptoms after death.  However, surviving spouses of those who used hospice were more likely to have a decrease in depressive symptoms. We found that the positive benefit of hospice was much stronger when we looked at least 1 year after death.

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Destination LVAD Devices Come With Caregivers’ Concerns and Tensions

Colleen K. McIlvennan, DNP, ANP Assistant Professor of Medicine University of Colorado, Division of Cardiology Section of Advanced Heart Failure and TransplantationMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Colleen K. McIlvennan, DNP, ANP
Assistant Professor of Medicine
University of Colorado, Division of Cardiology
Section of Advanced Heart Failure and Transplantation

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: Destination therapy left ventricular assist device (DT LVAD) patients are often older with significant comorbidities that preclude heart transplantation. As such, the decision to get a DT LVAD is arguably more complicated than the decision to receive a temporary LVAD in anticipation of a transplant. Centers offering LVADs often require the identification of a caregiver prior to proceeding with the implant. Caregivers are commonly female spouses of DT LVAD patients, who are also older with co-morbidities. Understanding their perspective in DT LVAD decision making is extremely important as they are at particular risk for experiencing stress and caregiver burden due to the increased demands on caregiving with DT LVAD.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: We performed semi-structured qualitative interviews with 17 caregivers: 10 caregivers of patients living with DT LVAD, 6 caregivers of patients who had died with DT LVAD, and 1 caregiver of a patient who had declined DT LVAD. Throughout the interviews, the overarching theme was that considering a DT LVAD is a complex decision-making process.

Additionally, three dialectical tensions emerged:
1) the stark decision context, with tension between hope and reality;
2) the challenging decision process, with tension between wanting loved ones to live and wanting to respect loved ones’ wishes; and
3) the downstream decision outcome, with tension between gratitude and burden.

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Stroke Caregiver Depressive Symptoms Vary by Ethnicity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Nenette M. Jessup MPH, CCRP
Research Associate/Project Manager TASK II
Indiana University School of Nursing
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Jessup: Similar to others, we found that females and non-African American caregivers experienced more depressive symptoms and females perceived greater task difficulty. Because female caregivers comprise the largest group of caregivers in the United States, the consistency of this finding has implications for continued social policy efforts to improve their plight. However, our results also suggested an interaction effect between race and type of relationship, with African American spouses experiencing the most difficulty with tasks of caregiving. Inconsistencies in the existing literature about this finding signal the need for a greater understanding of group differences. Individualized interventions may also be of benefit for stroke caregivers.

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End-of-Life Patients and Caregivers May Face Complex Co-Morbidities and Medications

Dr. Kirsty Boyd Programme theme head (Clinical Communication) Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer Primary Palliative Care Research Group Division of Community Health Sciences: General Practice University of EdinburghMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Kirsty Boyd
Programme theme head (Clinical Communication)
Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer
Primary Palliative Care Research Group
Division of Community Health Sciences: General Practice
University of Edinburgh

Medical Research: What do we know already about people with ‘multimorbidity’?

Dr. Boyd: We know that an increasing number of patients have multiple life-limiting illnesses or progressively deteriorating health due to several long term conditions or general frailty. Caring for them well poses major challenges and they are often hospitalised in the last year of life. They do not fit well into illness and healthcare models that focus on single conditions. Understanding the experiences of patients and their family caregivers is vital to inform improvements in best supportive care and palliative care. We wanted to build on care models for integrated care of people with long term conditions and consider the needs of those at risk of dying with multiple conditions in more detail. Continue reading

Post-Stroke: What Makes Family Caregivers Happy?

Jill Cameron, PhD M.Ed., B.Sc. O.T CIHR New Investigator, Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto Adjunct Scientist, UHN-Toronto Rehabilitation InstituteMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jill Cameron, PhD
CIHR New Investigator, Associate Professor,
Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Adjunct Scientist, UHN-Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Cameron: In our study with 399 stroke survivor, caregiver dyads, caregivers reported more psychological wellbeing when they provided more assistance to stroke survivors who had fewer symptoms of depression, better cognitive functioning, and who had more severe strokes.  In addition, caregivers who maintained participation in valued activities, had more mastery, gained personally providing care, were in better physical health, and were older reported more psychological wellbeing.

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