Objective: To study the impact of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) on the psychosocial functioning of the closest relative and on family functioning during the first year after GBS. Method: At 1 (= T1), 3 (= T3), 6 (= T6), and 12 months (= T12) after the onset of GBS, relatives of patients received the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ28) and the Family Assessment Device (FAD). Sixty-three relatives returned the GHQ28 at all four designated intervals. At T1 the relatives also received a questionnaire that contained questions on the impact on their daily life. The answers to these questions yielded a Daily Living Impact index. From the 110 relatives, 86 returned this questionnaire. Results: 72% of the 86 relatives reported one or more problems in daily living. At T1 the scores of the GHQ subscales ranged from normal to mildly disturbed. The relatives showed significant improvement in their somatic complaints and anxiety during the first half year. Social dysfunction remained somewhat less than normal, severe depression was not found. At T1 and T3 the scores of the GHQ28 and some subscales differed significantly depending on the severity of the functional status of the patient, but not at T6 and T12. Relatives of patients with severe residua at 1 month score worse on the GHQ28 and most subscales at 6 months. The FAD was normal at all moments measured. Conclusions: Psychological morbidity of close relatives is significantly higher in the first months after the onset of GBS. The patient's condition has an important impact on the psychosocial functioning of close relatives. Therefore, a family approach is recommended to neurologist and other medical personnel during the first period of the disease. Also patient support groups may play a beneficial role for the relatives of GBS patients.

Close relative, General Health Questionnaire, Guillain-Barré syndrome, Impact, Psychosocial, Spouse
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2006.01.002, hdl.handle.net/1765/66783
Journal of the Neurological Sciences
Department of Neurology

Bernsen, R.A.J.A.M, de Jager, A.E.J, van der Meché, F.G.A, & Suurmeijer, T.P.B.M. (2006). The effects of Guillain-Barré syndrome on the close relatives of patients during the first year. Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 244(1-2), 69–75. doi:10.1016/j.jns.2006.01.002