The prevalence of depression and burden of care among family care givers of cancer patients seen at the Nairobi Hospice, Nairobi, Kenya
General Objective: To determine the prevalence of depression and burden of giving care among the care givers of terminally ill cancer patients Specific objectives: To determine the socio demographic variables of the study population To determine the levels of depression among family care givers To determine the burden of care among family care givers To determine the association between the socio demographic variables and the levels of depression To determine the association between the socio demographic variables and the burden of care. Study population: Care givers of cancer patients registered at the Nairobi hospice and who meet the inclusion criteria over a period of one month Study design: Cross sectional, Descriptive study Setting: Nairobi hospice Methodology: All family care givers visiting the Nairobi hospice for a period of one month were reviewed. Those who met the criteria completed the self administered socio demographic data form, Beck depression inventory and burden of care scales Main research variables: The following variables in the care givers were sought: age, gender, education, relationship to the patient, employment status, patient cancer type, care givers burden and depression Results: Care givers of cancer patients reported mild to moderate levels of depression. The younger the age of the care giver, the more the impact of depression. Cancer site, the level of dependency .on the care giver and the distress symptoms experienced by the patients were causing a lot of distress to the care giver causing depression. The unemployed and those working part time were also severely affected by depression. T he more educated care givers were less depressed and experienced less subjective burden. Heavy objective burden was reported in transport finances, treatment costs, children education, and care requirements materials and equipments. The feeling of subjective burden was evident in care givers who felt inadequate in providing the material requirements or being physically unavailable for their loved one. The social support offered among the Kenyans of African origin was immense and this was shown by the low number of those affected by depression as compared to other studies done elsewhere. Conclusion: Family care givers are at risk of developing depression and burden as a result of taking care of cancer patient. The care givers age, education, employment status, relationship with the patient, the period of care giving roles and social support may determine whether one gets depression or feels heavily burdened while giving care to a loved one.