This study evaluated the association between presence and types of informal caregivers and the presence of depressive symptoms among older adults receiving formal home health care (HHC). A secondary analysis of data was conducted using a computerized patient care database, the Outcome and Assessment Information Set. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine the data of 8448 patients aged 65 years or older who had been admitted to an HHC agency from acute care hospitals between January 1, 2002 and June 30, 2002. The outcome variable was the presence of depressive symptoms. The primary predictor variable was the presence and types of informal caregivers. Covariates included demographic variables, health status, length of time enrolled in formal HHC, patient living arrangements, and the frequency and types of care received from informal caregivers. A lower percentage of older adults receiving care from both informal caregivers and a formal HHC agency (13.3%) had depressive symptoms than older adults receiving only formal HHC (14.9%) at the end of a 60-day episode in formal HHC. Older adults without an informal caregiver were more likely to experience depressive symptoms than those with an informal caregiver after a 60-day episode in HHC (odds ratio = 1.229, 95% confidence interval = 1.027-1.471). There was no significant association between the types of informal caregivers and the presence of depressive symptoms.
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