It is generally believed that the patient is the only one in pain, but really after a subject with a pathology there is a group of people who are also affected in one way or another by this situation.
The Zarit scale is a psychometric assessment instrument aimed at measuring the level of condition that people caring for patients diagnosed with a certain type of dementia may have.
In this article, we will review the technical file of the Zarit scale, we will see the procedure of application and correction, the population for which this scale is intended, as well as we will review what is the syndrome of caregiver.
What is the Zarit scale?
The Zarit Scale was originally composed by Steven H. Zarit, i consists of 22 reactive Likert-type response elements. This instrument is intended to measure the level of awareness and perception of caregivers regarding the areas of their life which are affected by housework.
The frequency values to which the subject must respond on the Zarit scale are between 1 (never) and 5 (almost always).
The domains of the questionnaire include both physical and psychological, keeping in mind that caring for someone with dementia is demanding in many ways, And can dramatically change the lives of those caring for these patients.
The financial and social resources invested in care are also taken into account by the elements of the Zarit scale.
The rating range of this instrument is between 22 and 110 points, the higher the rating range obtained by the subject, the higher the level of affection he shows towards the work of caregiver.
The application of this instrument can be done in several ways. For example, a collective request could be made in the event that a study is carried out on a sample of the population. It can also be self-administered, In the event that we are taking care of a patient and want to know to what extent we are affected.
In the field of clinical psychology, the therapist could apply this scale in order to know exactly the level of affection of his patient, and at the same time show in a measurable way that we need to look for better alternatives when it comes to working as a caregiver.
Once the scale’s total scores have been obtained, in the 22 reactive items they are added. As mentioned above, the range is between 22 and 110. Thresholds that determine the level of caregiver involvement, According to the Spanish adaptation, they are:
- No overload: 22-46.
- Overload: 47-55.
- Heavy overload: 56-110.
The population for which the Zarit scale is intended includes all people who have the characteristic of providing care to one or more patients with a certain type of diagnosed dementia.
When the subject takes care of a loved one, it is difficult to make him understand that it is not healthy to do these tasks full time. In these cases, there is an emotional bias that blocks the objectivity of the caregivers. In these cases, the therapist must apply the techniques and the treatments taking into account the intensity of the dependence presented by the caregiver vis-à-vis the subject in his care.
Sometimes caregivers they create a dysfunctional environment, where their actions are counterproductive for all parties involved (caregiver, family and patient)
The Zarit Caregiver Scale is designed, among other things, to determine whether a person may have caregiver syndrome, Which is a state of generalized affect caused by performing caregiving tasks on a person with symptoms of dementia.
The emotional, physical and sometimes also economic overload that weighs on some caregivers, especially when it comes to family members, he can completely change the roles played by each of them in its core.
This situation greatly complicates their daily activities and can lead to job losses, family separations, among other series of unsuitable situations for people with caregiver syndrome.
Recommendations to avoid the syndrome
In general, the professional guidelines generally given to caregivers to reduce the risk of presenting this symptomatology are as follows:
- Don’t be the only one dedicated to care, delegates functions.
- Avoid so much social isolation.
- Avoid high stress levels.
- Talk about the patient’s progress with other relatives or caregivers.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle (Food, sleep, hygiene).
- Have time off (time set aside for doing other things that are of personal interest to you).
In the case of therapists who have patients with caregiver syndrome, they must work to foster their autonomy and channel any behavioral issues they may present. So that the subject distributes the time correctly between his life and that of the patient he is caring for.
- Archury, DM (2011). Quality of life of caregivers of chronically ill patients with partial dependence. Nursing research: image and development: 27-46.
- Hugo, J .; Ganguli, M. (2014). Dementia and cognitive impairment: epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment. Geriatric medicine clinics. 30 (3): 421-42.