Objectives: (1) To estimate caregiver support required by patients 2 months after prolonged (at least 48 h) mechanical ventilation (MV) in an ICU; (2) to describe caregiver burden, caregiver depressive symptomatology, and caregiver limitations in activities; and (3) to investigate factors related to depressive symptoms at 2 months in caregivers.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Study participants: Caregivers of 115 patients who received prolonged MV in an ICU.
Measurements: Sociodemographics, employment status, hours spent providing care, help from paid caregiving sources, caregiver burden, and caregiver depressive symptoms.
Results: The proportion of patients who survived at least 2 months and required caregiver support was 74.8%. The average age of caregivers was 52.9 years (SD, 14.2), 76.5% were women, and more than half were spouses (52.2%). Only 33 of the caregivers (28.7%) were working, and 30.3% had to reduce their time spent at work to provide care to the patient. The prevalence of risk of clinical depression (defined as Center for Epidemiological Studies depression scale [CES-D] score ≥ 16) among caregivers was 33.9%. The mean caregiver CES-D score was 13.2 (SD, 11; median, 10). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that higher CES-D score was associated with more hours per day helping with patients’ activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living (p = 0.003).
Conclusions: Two months after being placed on MV for at least 48 h, a high proportion of patients need caregiver support. Approximately 34% of caregivers are at risk of clinical depression. Many caregivers report lifestyle changes and burden when providing care for the patients.