Purpose: The aim of this study was to assess the burden and the quality of life (QoL) perceived by caregivers assisting advanced Parkinson's disease (PD) patients.
Patients and Methods: Consecutive advanced PD patients treated with levodopa/carbidopa intestinal gel (LCIG) or continuous subcutaneous apomorphine infusion (CSAI) or care as usual (CU) and their care partners were recruited during routine visits according to a cross-sectional design. Caregiver's distress was assessed by Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) and a QoL survey to evaluate and understand the burden experienced by care partners during family and working activities.
Results: A total of 126 patients (53 LCIG, 19 CSAI and 54 CU) and their care partners were enrolled. The ZBI score boxplot showed that LCIG and CU populations have a similar distribution (ZBI inter-quartile range [IQR] values respectively 18-42 for LCIG and 19-43 for CU group), while the CSAI group has a wider score range (IQR 16-52). Caregivers assisting patients in treatment with LCIG have more time to perform family or household duties (p=0.0022), or to engage in leisure activities (p=0.0073) compared to CU, while no difference was found when compared to CSAI group. Approximately 50% of the care partners showed mood changes in the last 6 months and LCIG and CSAI had less impact on caregiver's mood compared to CU. Patients treated with LCIG were more independent in taking a bath or shower without assistance and were more able to move and walk without assistance.
Conclusion: Care partners of advanced PD patients treated with device-aided therapies have more time for their own life and a better perception of their QoL with a tendency to an improvement of mood compared with those of patients treated with CU.