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Informal care for stroke survivors. Results from the North East Melbourne stroke incidence study (NEMESIS)

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journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2002, 00:00 authored by H Dewey, A Thrift, Cathy Mihalopoulos, Rob CarterRob Carter, R Macdonell, J McNeil, G Donnan
Background and Purpose-: Informal caregivers play an important role in the lives of stroke patients, but the cost of providing this care has not been estimated. The purpose of this study was to determine the nature and amount of informal care provided to stroke patients and to estimate the economic cost of that care.

Methods-:
The primary caregivers of stroke patients registered in the North East Melbourne Stroke Incidence Study (NEMESIS) were interviewed at 3, 6, and 12 months after stroke, and the nature and amount of informal care provided were documented. The opportunity and replacement costs of informal care for all first-ever-in-a-lifetime strokes (excluding subarachnoid hemorrhages) that occurred in 1997 in Australia were estimated.

Results-:
Among 3-month stroke survivors, 74% required assistance with activities of daily living and received informal care from family or friends. Two thirds of primary caregivers were women, and most primary caregivers (>90%) provided care during family or leisure time. Total first-year caregiver time costs for all first-ever-in-a-lifetime strokes were estimated to be A$21.7 million (opportunity cost approach) or A$42.5 million (replacement cost approach), and the present values of lifetime caregiver time costs were estimated to be A$171.4 million (opportunity cost approach) or A$331.8 million (replacement cost approach).

Conclusions-: Informal care for stroke survivors represents a significant hidden cost to Australian society. Because our community is rapidly aging, this informal care burden may increase significantly in the future.

History

Journal

Stroke

Volume

33

Issue

4

Pagination

1028 - 1033

Publisher

Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Location

Philadelphia, Pa.

ISSN

0039-2499

eISSN

1524-4628

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2002, American Heart Association, Inc.