Perceived stigma in people with mild dementia and their caregivers at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital

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Natchanika Arthawimon
Sookjaroen Tangwongchai


Background : Dementia is a common disease in the elderly. Lacking the knowledge and understanding of it may cause perceived stigma of dementia among patients and caregivers.

Objectives : To explore the perceived stigma in the people with mild dementia and their caregivers at the out-patient clinic of King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital.

Methods : A total of 97 individuals, i.e., people with early stage of dementia and their caregivers were recruited. All subjects with at least 60 years old were diagnosed by psychiatrists or neurologists with alzheimer’s disease
(AD) , vascular dementia (VAD), AD with cerebrovascular disease (CVD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mixed dementia.The caregivers had to take care of the patients for not less than three hours per day and at least one month. The tools used to collect data composed of a questionnaire on demographic and clinical data of the patients and caregivers, stigma impact scale (SIS), Zarit Burden Interview Thai version Questionnaire, Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire (NPI-Q Thai version), Assessment of knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease questionnaire . Statistical analysis was performed for percentage, mean, and standard deviation of the SIS and univariated analysis was done for associated factors with t-test, One-way ANOVA. Linear regression analysis
was computed for the prediction of SIS score.

Results : Most patients and caregivers had low SIS score, 92.8 and 89.7 percent respectively. Factors associated with the perceived stigma among patients were as follows: patients’ age, educational level, family history
of dementia, NPI-Q scores and the level of caregiver’s burden. Factors associated with the perceived stigma among the caregivers were age, educational level and inadequate income. The predictive factors for the SIS score among patients and caregivers were age and family history of dementia. Only high level of caregiver’s burden could predict the SIS score of the caregivers in this study.

Conclusion : The results showed that most of Thai people with mild dementia and their caregivers had less perceived stigma than those reported from the West. The discrepancy may be related to the cultural difference or
other factors that need further exploration.

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Modern Medicine