Healthcare professionals should consider a complete therapeutic approach that includes the input of caregivers assisting patents with TD.
The impact of tardive dyskinesia (TD) on caregivers’ lives should be considered when deciding treatment options, according to a study published in Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. Andrew J. Cutler, MD, and colleagues sought to better understand the effect on caregivers who work with individuals with abnormal involuntary movements specifically manifested in TD.
In RE-KINECT, a real-world study of possible TD in patients treated with antipsychotic medication, researchers assessed the effects of patients’ abnormal involuntary movements on caregivers. They administered a questionnaire for caregivers that focused on their perceptions regarding the impact of abnormal involuntary movements, patients’ sociodemographic characteristics and how these movements effect caregivers.
More than 85% of Caregivers Are Family Members or Friends
Among total participating caregivers, 85.4% were family members or friends, 61.0% were women, and 48.8% were employed. Based on responses from caregivers who observed patients’ abnormal involuntary movements and cared for individuals who also noticed those movements, 48.0% of patients had “a lot” of severity in one or more body regions and 76.0% had abnormal involuntary movements in two or more regions.
Caregivers’ ratings were significantly associated with patient ratings (but not with clinician ratings) for the number of affected regions and maximum severity of abnormal involuntary movements (both P<0.05). Based on their own perceptions and judgments, caregivers noted that the patient’s movements had “some” or “a lot” of impact on the caregiver’s ability to be productive (58.3%), participate in usual activities (50.0%), socialize (55.6%), or take care of self (50.0%).
Consider a Complete Therapeutic Approach
The study team agreed that healthcare professionals should consider a complete therapeutic approach that includes the input of caregivers “First, the potential impact of TD on caregivers is substantial and should not be overlooked,” Dr. Cutler and colleagues wrote. “Acknowledging this burden and providing appropriate resources are also recommended. Second, caregivers can be a valuable resource to clinicians for assessing the presence and severity of TD and subsequent impact on patients, as indicated by the significant correlations between caregiver and patient ratings of possible TD in this study.”
In the future, the authors stated, more research is needed to better understand how TD affects the mental well-being, physical health, QOL, and financial resources of caregivers.