Patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and their caretakers may experience symptoms of anxiety and depression that could impact their mortality, quality of life, and healthcare use.
A study recently published in International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease investigated the factors that are related to anxiety and depression in patients with COPD and their carers. The researchers conducted in-person interviews with patients and carers in their home setting. Data was also collected on the sociodemographics, clinical characteristics, and caring situation of the participants. Additionally, all patients completed a Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire that measured their disease-specific, health-related quality of life.
“Few studies have been conducted in the primary care setting,” the authors wrote. “We aimed to determine the association between patient and carer anxiety and depression and factors associated with anxiety and depression in patients, carers, and both in the dyad in a population-based cohort, sampled from primary care.”
The results revealed the prevalence of anxiety symptoms was 46.4% in patients and 46% in carers, while the depression prevalence was 42.9% in patients and 23% in carers. Patients with anxious and depressive symptoms were associated with more physical comorbidities, more exacerbations, greater dyspnea, greater fatigue, poor mastery, and demonstrated depressive symptoms at a younger age.
Carer symptoms were linked to being female; separated, divorced, or widowed; depressive symptoms with a younger age; a higher educational level; and more physical comorbidities. Also, carers with anxiety and depression had more unmet support needs, greater subjective caring burden and poor patient mastery. Furthermore, patient fatigue was linked with dyad symptoms of anxiety and depression.
“Regarding the relationship between dyad anxiety and depression and patient fatigue, patients and carers could be supported to optimize their delegated dyadic coping: carers could offer balanced social support (so that they do not become overwhelmed themselves) and encourage patients to do as many everyday activities as they are able to before becoming too fatigued (to maintain a degree of self-efficacy),” the study stated.
Given the results of the study, the researchers suggested screenings to address the anxiety and depression in patients and carers in order to find solutions that will positively impact mortality, their quality of life, healthcare service use, and their associations with each other.