International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry vol:16 issue:12 pages:1119-1128
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study is to identify risk factors for nursing home placement of cognitively-impaired elderly, with special attention to the role of psychosocial factors such as the caregiver's preference for institutionalization and the quality of the dyadic relationship.
METHODS: Partners, children and children-in-law caring for a relative suffering from dementia (n = 144) were interviewed at home. Sociodemographic variables, patient characteristics, characteristics of the caregiving situation, caregiver characteristics, the support with care and the quality of the caregiving relationship are included as predictors of the caregiver's preference for institutionalization and of the actual institutionalization six to nine months later. Data are analyzed using multiple (logistic) regression analyses.
RESULTS: The hypothesis that a poor quality of the relationship, besides other determinants, will be predictive of institutionalization received partial support. No relationship is found between the premorbid relationship quality and institutionalization (preference and actual). However, a good current relationship between the caregiver and the patient reduced the risk of nursing home placement. Institutionalization rate was 16.5% and it was predicted by the caregiver's preference for institutionalization, the functional level of the patient, the quality of the current relationship and the performance of accommodation changes at home.
CONCLUSION: Research and interventions directed at delaying or preventing institutionalization should pay more attention to the role of psychosocial aspects in the process of nursing home placement. Specifically the relationship quality in terms of criticism or warmth might be a critical factor in the continuation of home care.