Burden and quality of life in caregivers of persons with multiple sclerosis

Opara J, Jaracz K, Brola W.
Neurol Neurochir Pol. 2012 Sep-Oct;46(5):472-9.

SOURCE:  Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego im. J. Kukuczki w Katowicach, ul. Mikołowska 72b, 40-065 Katowice. jozefopara@wp.pl

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the second most common cause of disability among nervous system diseases. This disease causes reduced quality of life of patients and those caring for them. Quality of life (QoL) measures consist of at least three broad domains: physical, mental and social. In the field of medicine, researchers have often used the concept of health-related quality of life, which specifically focuses on the impact of an illness and/or treatment on patients’ perception of their status of health and on subjective well-being or satisfaction with life. Subjective factors of QoL in MS patients include perception of symptoms, level of fitness, self-image, satisfaction with family life, work, the economic situation, interaction with other people, social support and life in general. Objective factors include the clinical picture of disease, social status, social and living conditions and the number and intensity of social contacts. While many generic and specific questionnaires have been developed to assess QoL in patients with MS, including general fatigue, there is a lack of specific questionnaires assessing QoL of caregivers. In this paper, a review of selected studies on QoL and caregiver burden in MS and a summary of the most popular questionnaires measuring burden and QoL are presented. Special attention is paid to the first questionnaire specific for QoL of carers of persons with MS, CAREQOL-MS by Benito-León et al.