Assessment of care transitions and caregiver burden in anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis

Purpose

The purpose of the study was to assess care transitions and caregiver burden among
caregivers of individuals with anti-N-methyl-
d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor encephalitis (anti-NMDARE).

Methods

Caregivers of individuals with anti-NMDARE were recruited via patient organization
websites. Demographic and clinical information as well as responses to the Care Transition
Measure 15 (CTM-15) and Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) were collected. Exploratory factor
analysis (EFA) was conducted on the ZBI, and underlying constructs were analyzed for
associations with the CTM-15 and clinical characteristics.

Results

Seventy-six caregivers participated. On the CTM-15, the top items where caregivers
disagreed or strongly disagreed were the following: “when the patient left the hospital,
I had a readable and easily understood written plan that described how all of their
healthcare needs were going to be met” (73%), “when the patient left the hospital,
I was confident that I know how to manage their health” (62%), and “when the patient
left the hospital, I had all the information I needed to be able to take care of them”
(58%). Worse care transitions significantly predicted higher caregiver burden scores.

Mean ZBI score was 44, falling in the moderate to severe burden range. Exploratory
factor analysis was conducted and found four common underlying factors associated
with total score. Factor 1, the impact of caring on caregivers’ personal lives (accounting
for 51% of total score variance), was selected for further analysis because of its
modifiable nature. Higher ZBI scores were associated with lower CTM-15 scores (p < 0.003)
and the individual with anti-NMDARE not returning to driving (p < 0.002).

Conclusion

This study identified specific elements of care transitions and caregiver burden that
are not currently being addressed for individuals with anti-NMDARE. Attention to these
aspects of care in the development of targeted interventions may improve outcomes
in individuals with anti-NMDARE and their caregivers.

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