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Anxiety in Family Caregivers of Dialysis Patients in Nairobi County, Kenya 

Winnie Waiyaki, Ph.D., Daystar University, Nairobi)

Abstract

End stage kidney disease (ESKD) signifies that the kidney has failed to work. Henceforth, in the absence of a kidney transplant, the work of the kidney is carried out by the process known as dialysis. A diagnosis of ESKD and subsequent dialysis results in major lifestyle changes in the family. It also calls for drastic measures in caregiving for the patient as changes occur in medication and diet. With time, one member of the family, referred to as the Family Caregiver (FCG) becomes responsible for all the patient’s care. Studies have shown that this caregiving burden may compromise the FCG’s health, resulting in, among other mental disorders, anxiety. However, this has not been studied enough and therefore there is need to consider the incidence of and factors associated with anxiety among FCGs of dialysis patients. In a cross-sectional study, using a convenience sample of 96 FCGs and their patients in various private hospitals in Nairobi and using the Beck Anxiety Index (BAI), this study determined the mean anxiety score among the FCGs as 18.9, indicating moderate anxiety. The results demonstrate the following aspects as being significantly associated with elevated anxiety levels: residing away from the patient, educational level of the patients, and doing other work, paticularly business, apart from caring for the patient. These findings are relevant for clinical practice for all those involved in the care including the FCGs, medical community and psychologists.

Keywords: end stage kidney disease, family caregivers, anxiety

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