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31 Aug

An Italian study out of the Psychology Department of the University of Padua examined the impact of cognitive-behavioral therapy on the depressive symptoms of those who provide care at home for severely ill psychiatric patients.

Forty caregivers who were depressed or at risk of depression were randomly assigned to either a cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) group or a mutual support treatment (MST) group, led respectively by 2 psychotherapists and 1 psychologist- facilitator. Before and after intervention, all participants were individually assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory and Family Problems questionnaire.

Both the CBT and MST therapies produced reductions in depression, though in the MST groups the trend was not significant. Nevertheless, analysis of the clinical significance of change in the Beck Depression Inventory score for each subject showed an improvement in 58.3% of depressed caregivers treated with CBT and in 45.4% of those treated with MST. And unlike CBT, MST produced an improvement in two dimensions of family burden.
Citation: Michielin P, Cenedese C, Cristofoli M, Zaros N. [Usefulness and effectiveness of group cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy and mutual support group therapy for depressed caregivers of psychiatric patients] G Ital Med Lav Ergon. 2007 Jul-Sep;29(3 Suppl B):B18-25. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. [Article in Italian]
15 Aug

According to a survey of 1,462 seriously ill patients by Karen Steinhauser and her research team at Duke University, freedom from pain is the most important priority at the end of life, followed by being at peace with God and being with loved ones. Other areas that ranked high in importance were good patient-physician communication, being prepared for death, and achieving closure. Items that were considered important by patients but less so by physicians included being mentally alert, not being a burden to others, and having time to plan funeral arrangements. Interestingly, the researchers also found that dying at home was not a priority. People don’t fear death, said Steinhauser at a press conference announcing the survey findings. They fear bad dying.

Citation: Steinhauser KE, Christakis NA, Clipp EC, McNeilly M, Grambow S, Parker J, Tulsky JA. Preparing for the end of life: preferences of patients, families, physicians, and other care providers. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2001 Sep;22(3):727-37.