International Psychogeriatrics

Research Article

Determinants of quality of life in Alzheimer's disease: perspective of patients, informal caregivers, and professional caregivers

Maria Gómez-Gallegoa1a3 c1, Jesus Gómez-Amora2a3 and Juan Gómez-Garcíaa2a3

a1 Department of Psychology, Catholic University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain

a2 Department of Psychobiology, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain

a3 Department of Quantitative Methods, Aging Institute of Murcia, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain

Abstract

Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a chronic medical condition with symptoms that compromise patients’ quality of life (QoL). The identification of the factor predicting QoL in AD is essential to develop more effective interventions. Recent research suggests that these factors could be different for the distinct informants. This study explores the QoL predictors considering three different sources of information: patients, caregivers, and healthcare staff.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, a sample of 102 patients, their primary caregivers, and 15 members of the healthcare staff evaluated patients’ QoL (QoL-AD Scale). Patients’ and caregivers’ demographic and clinical data (cognitive function, neuropsychiatric symptoms, depression, and caregivers’ burden) were considered as QoL predictors.

Results: In multivariate-adjusted linear regression analyses, we observed that patients’ ratings were mainly affected by their mood whereas caregivers’ ratings were also negatively influenced by patients’ irritability and burden. According to staff ratings, both psychotic symptoms and neuroleptics were associated with lower QoL.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that depression is the main variable related to patients’ QoL and that more careful management of neuropsychiatric disorders is necessary. Both proxies’ ratings are not equivalent to patients’ reports in terms of predictors but they are complementary. Thus, a thorough QoL assessment should consider separately the perspective of the different informants.

(Received August 03 2011)

(xxx November 13 2011)

(xxxFebruary 15 2012)

(Accepted May 13 2012)

(Online publication June 15 2012)

Key words:

  • QoL-AD;
  • predictors;
  • depression;
  • neuropsychiatric symptoms;
  • functional disability;
  • burden

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Maria Gómez-Gallego, Department of Psychology. Catholic University of Murcia, Campus of Jeronimos, 30107 Murcia, Spain. Phone: +34 636913130; Fax: +34 968278764. Email: mgomezg@um.es.