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Assessment of the level of care-burden in informal caregivers of patients with dementia


S Abeywickrema ,

District General Hospital, Nawalapitiya, LK
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R Weerasundera,

Royal Darwin Hospital, Darwin, AU
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K Ranasinghe

National Institute of Mental Health, Angoda, LK
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Worldwide, the incidence and prevalence of dementia is currently increasing. Dementia is associated with significant disability due to cognitive impairment, and sufferers often become dependent on their carers. Close family members often provide care for persons suffering from dementia, particularly in the developing world. This care-burden is associated with many consequences such as carer depression, elder abuse and premature placement of the patients in institutions. The consequences of care-burden have not been studied in depth in Sri Lanka. A better understanding of care-burden would be helpful to develop interventions to support carers as well as minimise the economic burden to the state


The objectives of this study were to describe the level of care-burden in carers of patients with dementia, and to explore possible associations between the care-burden and other variables such as socio demographic factors and psychiatric morbidity.


A total of 77 carers were included in the study. The locally adapted and translated Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) was used to assess for care-burden, and participants were also clinically assessed for the presence of depression based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – version IV (DSM IV) criteria for a major depressive episode. Socio-demographic details were gathered via a questionnaire.


Over one quarter of carers were experiencing a moderate to severe level of care-burden, and almost half reported mild to moderate care-burden. The level of burden increased significantly with increasing age, and a proportion of participants were also depressed. Further large scale, population based research is needed in Sri Lanka, to explore these associations further.

The Sri Lanka Journal of Psychiatry Vol 6(1):4-8
How to Cite: Abeywickrema, S., Weerasundera, R. and Ranasinghe, K., 2015. Assessment of the level of care-burden in informal caregivers of patients with dementia. Sri Lanka Journal of Psychiatry, 6(1), pp.4–8. DOI:
Published on 10 Jun 2015.
Peer Reviewed


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