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Care decision does not reduce stress

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PITTSBURGH, Aug 24, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Caregivers who place relatives in long-term care facilities do not necessarily have less stress following their decision, U.S. researchers said Tuesday.

University of Pittsburgh researchers conducted the first study to analyze the emotional turmoil, effects and circumstances of placing a loved one in a long-term care facility.

In a four-year study of more than 1,000 pairs of caregivers and patients, researchers found symptoms of depression and anxiety remained steady for the 180 caregivers who placed their loved one in an institution.

Spouses of patients reported higher levels of depression before and after placement and more anxiety after placement than caregivers who were not spouses.

"They continue to feel distressed because of the suffering and decline of their loved one as well as having to face new challenges such as frequent trips to the long-term care facility, reduced control over the care provided to their relative, and taking on responsibilities such as coordinating and monitoring care," researcher Richard Schulz said.

The study is in the Aug. 25 Journal of the American Medical Association.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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