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Fawn Fitter

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Author of Working in the Dark: Keeping Your Job While Dealing...

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Caregivers Don't Breathe Easy

Ask any parent: Taking care of others is a tough job. However, that job becomes especially emotionally draining when it’s end-of-life care. And some end-of-life caregivers are at an increased risk for mental illnesses, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

People that took care of terminal lung transplant patients have a four to five times higher risk of suffering depression and PTSD symptoms than an average person, according to recent research. Researchers recommend caregivers meet with trained counselors to help ease the emotional and financial stress caregivers incur from their job.

It's curious that the study compared lung transplant patient caregivers to the general population and not to other caregivers who supported patients through different end-of-life circumstances. These caregivers suffer similar increased risks for depression and PTSD. Perhaps those studies are still to come.

Have you ever been an end-of-life caregiver? What were your experiences? [HealthDay]

Posted: 5/21/08

I bet caregivers in lots of different situations -- not just end-of-life care -- have depression problems. People who work with prisoners, drug addicts or abused children, for example, probably get a pretty jaded world view that can really take a toll on the psyche.


Wow, not suprising this would be an issue. Building a connection with someone like that and slowly watching them deteriorate would be an incredibly tough thing to do.

  • By Kadee84
  • on 5/21/08 4:08 PM EST