Hospice family caregivers' quality of life

  • Tang W
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AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To study quality of life (QOL) and its important correlates among family caregivers of terminally ill patients receiving in-home hospice care. BACKGROUND: Caregiver QOL has been identified as a core outcome variable in studies of dying patients and their families, but few studies have assessed QOL among caregivers of patients with terminal illness, particularly those in hospice care. DESIGN: For this cross-sectional correlational study, 60 caregivers were recruited from two local in-home hospice programmes in the Midwestern United States. METHODS: Self-report data were provided by caregivers using the Caregiver Quality of Life Index - Cancer, Spiritual Well-Being Scale, American Pain Society Patient Outcomes Questionnaire, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status Rating and Medical Outcome Study Social Support Survey to measure their QOL, spirituality, health status and social support. RESULTS: Caregivers' educational status, physical health status, spirituality and qualitative and quantitative social support, as a set, explained 42% of the variance in their QOL. Caregivers with higher education, better physical health status, greater spirituality and more qualitative and quantitative social support, had a significantly better QOL. CONCLUSIONS: QOL for this sample of hospice caregivers was significantly predicted only by physical health status and spirituality, likely because of collinearity among the independent variables. Additional research is needed to explore the factors that sustain or promote caregivers' QOL over time. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: In the delivery of hospice services, the family caregiver is both a vital member of the health care team and a recipient of care. Health care providers should therefore pay more attention to the health status and spirituality of major caregivers, thus helping them maintain and improve their QOL.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Caregiver
  • Hospice
  • Nurses
  • Nursing
  • Quality of life
  • Terminally ill

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  • Woung R. Tang

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