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Z Psychosom Med Psychother.


[Quality of life and satisfaction of family caregivers in palliative care - results of postmortem interviews with bereaved family members].
[Article in German]

Perner A, Khler N, Brhler E, Gtze H. Source

Abteilung fr Medizinische Psychologie und Medizinische Soziologie am Universittsklinikum Leipzig, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.

INTRODUCTION: Family caregivers play an important role in palliative care. However, the number of studies focussing on the quality of life of these family caregivers is limited. The current study evaluates quality of life and satisfaction with medical care in bereaved family members. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Comparisons were made between (1) male vs. female family caregivers (N = 44) and (2) bereaved family caregivers vs. general population (EORTC QLQ-C30). Furthermore, the satisfaction of the family caregivers with medical care was assessed after the death of their relatives (ZUF HOPE). The interviews were conducted between six and eight weeks following the death of the palliative patients. RESULTS: Regarding quality of life, bereaved family caregivers suffered from both reduced emotional functioning and general quality of life. Female caregivers had lower functional values and stronger symptoms of insomnia, fatigue and pain than male caregivers. Bereaved family caregivers had a lower quality of life than the general population. Retrospectively, family caregivers were very satisfied with most aspects of outpatient palliative care. The only aspect criticised by the bereaved family members was a lack of psycho-social support. CONCLUSION: Family caregivers need stronger support in order to prevent burnout and to improve outpatient care. In this context, gender differences must also be considered.

Aging Ment Health. 2009 Nov;13(6):799-807. doi: 10.1080/13607860903046487

Caregiver depression is associated with a low sense of coherence and health-related quality of life.
Vlimki TH, Vehvilinen-Julkunen KM, Pietil AM, Pirttil TA. Source
Department of Nursing Science, University of Kuopio, 70211 Kuopio, Finland.

OBJECTIVES: The main objective is to examine the sense of coherence (SOC) of spouse caregivers. The aim was further investigate the association of SOC, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), depressive symptoms, distress and how severity of Alzheimer's disease (AD) affects SOC. METHOD: 17O patient-spouse caregiver dyads in which the patient has recently diagnosed mild AD. Caregivers completed SOC scale (SOC-29), HRQoL (15D), Beck depression and general health questionnaire scale. The assessment of AD-related symptoms was made using mini mental state examination, clinical dementia rating, neuropsychiatric inventory and functional performance using activities of daily living (ADCS-ADL) scale. RESULTS: Male caregivers' SOC was significantly higher than female caregivers. The main predictor for low SOC was depression, with 37% of spousal caregivers reporting depressive symptoms. Women reported more depressive symptoms and distress. Caregivers' HRQoL was as high as 0.8714, and a significant correlation was found between SOC and depression, r = -0.632 and distress r = -0.579. Furthermore, significant correlations were found between HRQoL and depression (r = -0.572) and distress (r = -0.568). The main predictors for high HRQoL were female gender and low distress. CONCLUSION: Spouse caregivers with low SOC seem to be a vulnerable group of caregivers. The many negative effects of perceived health accumulate in these caregivers during the very early phases of the caregiving process. Vulnerable caregivers need to be recognized at the time of AD diagnosis so that they can receive psychological support and counselling in addition to prevent morbidity in these caregivers.


[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]