Participants: A total of 186 caregivers and their care recipients with hip fracture (93 in each group) were allocated to an intervention group or a control group using a block system.
Intervention: An occupational therapy intervention during patient hospitalization focused on patient handling by caregivers and ergonomic treatment for both.
Main measures: The Goldberg General Health Questionnaire was used to measure emotional distress and psychological well-being. The Goldberg Anxiety and Depression Scale was used to measure caregiver affective illness.
Results: Among informal caregivers, emotional distress decreased to a greater extent in the intervention group than in the control group from the first assessment to the six-month follow-up (intervention group: 4.16 (SD 4.57) to 2.81 (SD 2.93); control group: 4.61 (SD 4.57) to 4.24 (SD 4.30)), showing significant differences at the first, third and sixth month. As regards anxiety levels, significant differences were only found at the third month (1.54 (SD 2.09) vs. 2.35 (SD 2.53) in the intervention and control groups, respectively (p < 0.05)), although the intervention group always showed lower levels from the first month. Although depression levels decreased in both groups, the decrease was also greater in the intervention group.
Conclusion: Occupational therapy training for caregivers of hip fracture patients helps to significantly reduce emotional distress, anxiety and depression in caregivers.