Depression of family caregivers is associated with disagreements on life-sustaining preferences for treating patients with dementia

Chia Fen Tsai, Yao Tung Lee, Wei Ju Lee, Jen Ping Hwang, Shuu Jiun Wang, Jong Ling Fuh

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Background Family caregivers may not agree with patients with dementia regarding attitudes toward end-of-life preferences, and the effects of this type of disagreement are not well understood. This study sought to identify such a disagreement and its predictors. Methods A cross-sectional sample of 84 family caregivers and patients with dementia was recruited from memory clinics.We used theMini-Mental State Examination, Neuropsychiatric Inventory, Clinical Dementia Rating, and Katz index of independence in activities of daily living to assess patient symptoms, functions, and severity of dementia. Caregivers completed questionnaires on perceived patient end-of-life care preferences, caregiver end-of-life care preferences for patients, Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI), Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D), and knowledge of clinical complications of advanced dementia. Results The self-disclosure rates of patient preferences were 34.5%for tube feeding, 39.3% for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and 45.2% for mechanical ventilation. For patients who had disclosed preferences, the disagreement rate between them and their caregivers was 48.3% for tube feeding, 48.5% for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and 60.3% for mechanical ventilation. Caregiver depression (i.e., CES-D16) was associated with disagreements on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 6.6, 95% CI = 1.4-31.1, P = 0.01) and mechanical ventilation (aOR = 14, 95% CI = 2.2-87.2, P = 0.005) preferences. Conclusion The preferences of end-of-life issues differed greatly between dementia patients and their caregivers. Depression in caregivers is associated with such discrepancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0133711
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 31 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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