Primary Objective: To explore levels of depression, anxiety, stress and strain symptomatology experienced by caregivers of adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI) during the phase of transition from hospital to home. Research Design: Prospective study with data collected at three time-points: pre-discharge, 1- month post-discharge, and 3-months post-discharge. Methods and Procedures: Twenty-nine caregivers of adults with TBI (mean age 48 years), recruited on patient discharge from rehabilitation, completed the Caregiver Strain Index and the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale at the three time points. Results: Paired t tests showed significantly lower levels of caregiver strain at one month compared to pre-discharge, and significantly less strain and depression symptoms at 3-month follow-up compared to pre-discharge. Non-significant reductions were observed in level of stress and anxiety across the follow-up time points. Independent group t tests found that female caregivers experienced greater strain than male caregivers at 3 months post-discharge, and caregivers who were immediate family members of the patient experienced greater anxiety than those who were spouses/partners of the patient at 1-month follow-up. Conclusions: The rate of depressive symptoms in caregivers of people with TBI was greater than the general population, and strain was prevalent during the transition period. The results suggest more specific caregiver support and preparation is needed before patient discharge from hospital, and that adequate time spent in rehabilitation is beneficial for caregiver wellbeing.
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