Research is underway to find tools for caregivers of trauma survivors for anxiety and stress

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Researchers at the Center for Health Sciences at the University of Texas at Houston (UTHealth) will test an early intervention developed for caregivers of patients with serious illnesses or injuries.

“In the case of serious injuries, chronic illnesses, or diagnoses that affect patients’ abilities to live and function independently, a loved one often takes on the significant role of providing help and support to the patient, ”said Deborah Little, Ph.D. D., principal investigator and professor at Louis A. Faillace, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, McGovern Medical School, UTHealth. “These caregivers deserve our admiration and we cannot forget that providing care to loved ones over months to years can have a profound and significant impact on the health and well-being of the child. . “

Currently, more than 45 million Americans play an informal caregiver role and receive little or no support, Little said, adding that more than 50 percent of people who work as a caregiver are diagnosed with depression. , and / or develop problems with substance use.

“These unpaid, informal, generous caregivers need support,” Little said. “When they do not receive enough support, it not only decreases their health, but also decreases their ability to provide high quality support to their loved one.”

Little and his team will recruit 300 participants from people with potential caregivers to patients admitted to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) at the Hermann Memorial – Texas Medical Center. They will try one which begins even before the patient is discharged can reduce the caregiver’s burden in both the long and short term.

The trial will divide the participants into three groups, with the receive traditional support in the form of ICU advisory groups and access to community support resources.

The second group will receive individualized problem-solving therapy, during which caregivers will identify what they are struggling with and work out how they might modify or change their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Third-party groups will receive a journal with directions based on problem-solving therapy designed to identify stressors and guide them through the development of solutions to combat these stressors.

“The diary will have simple, open directions for the person to respond, such as,‘ How are you feeling today? and “What did you think during those feelings and did something to combat those feelings?” said Little, research director of the Trauma and Resilience Center at McGovern Medical School.

At the end of a 30-day period with records once a week, participants will be reviewed to see if there is a reduction in their levels of depression and anxiety.

“Our goal is to provide different interventions that can be used to help these people when they may be experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety and provide tools to keep them from overflowing,” Little said.

If the clinical trial is successful, few believe the tools can be adapted to other patient / caregiver populations, not just trauma survivors.

“These populations have a demographics very similar to those they suffer from and their caregivers, especially when it comes to depression and anxiety, “Little said.” If we can determine that a tool helps these people deal with their feelings in a lasting way, we can adapt it to help other populations as well. . “

The main goal of the research is to determine if this approach can help and caregivers of service members who have been critically injured in combat.

“There are places in this country where mental health experience is not available, so having a tool like this diary could help a lot of people who wouldn’t have access to help otherwise,” he said.

This study is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and is conducted in conjunction with Baylor University and Houston Methodist Hospital.


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Citation: Ongoing research to find tools for caregivers of trauma survivors due to anxiety and stress (2021, June 26), retrieved June 26, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-underway- tools-caregivers-trauma-survivors. html

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