Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a very prevalent and invalidating disease. The aim of this study was to analyze the burden borne by informal caregivers of patients with COPD.
We used the Survey on Disabilities, Personal Autonomy, and Dependency Situations (Encuesta sobre Discapacidad, Autonomía personal y Situaciones de Dependencia [EDAD]-2008) to obtain information on the characteristics of disabled individuals with COPD and their caregivers in Spain. Additionally, statistical multivariate analyses were performed to analyze the impact that an increase in dependence would have on the problems for which caregivers provide support, in terms of health, professional, and leisure/social dimensions.
A total of 461,884 individuals with one or more disabilities and with COPD were identified, and 220,892 informal caregivers were estimated. Results showed that 35% of informal caregivers had health-related problems due to the caregiving provided; 83% had leisure/social-related problems; and among caregivers of working age, 38% recognized having profession-related problems. The probability of a problem arising was significantly associated with the degree of dependence of the patient receiving care. Caregivers of patients with great dependence showed a 39% higher probability of presenting health-related problems, 27% more professional problems, and 23% more leisure problems compared with those with nondependent patients.