Title : Mental health outcomes of family carers after admission to aged care: A cross-sectional survey study
Objectives: This study investigated the predictors of poor mental health outcomes among family carers of residents after transitioning into residential aged care.
Method: Using a cross-sectional design, five groups of variables were evaluated as predictors: caregiver demographics; caregiving load; resident-related variables; loneliness and visiting frequency, and the impact of the Covid-19 context. A total of 309 primary family contacts of all residents of two residential aged care organisations in the state of Victoria (Australia) participated in the study (response rate 19%). The K-10 and the Burden Scale for Family Caregivers were used to measure the primary outcomes. We compare psychological distress and burden outcomes between carers whose relative was admitted within the last 12 months, or longer than 12 months ago.
Results: Time since admission (<12months or >12 months) did not affect the level of psychological distress (K-10; F=-0.199, p=0.842) or subjective burden (t=-0.923, p=0.357). Women, spouses, those who spoke a non-English language at home, less satisfied with the support offered by the facility, who did not feel supported in the decision to admit their relative, who were lonelier, and provide higher levels of care pre-admission are at higher risk of poor mental health outcomes.
Conclusions: Older women with low-English proficiency who were primary carers, are socially isolated, are more likely to experience poor mental health outcomes and need additional support. These findings may inform the development of screening tools and tailored interventions to support this population during and after the transitional process.