Informal care and home-based palliative care: The health-related quality of life of carers

Publisher:
Elsevier
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 2010, 40 (1), pp. 35 - 48
Issue Date:
2010-01
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Health is an important factor in the capacity of family and friends (informal carers) to continue providing care for palliative care patients at home. This study investigates associations between the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of current informal carers and characteristics of the carers and their caregiving situation, in a sample of Australian carers of palliative care patients. The cross-sectional study used the Short Form-36 Health Survey to measure HRQOL. It found carers to have better physical health and worse mental health than the general population. Of 178 carers, 35% reported their health to be worse than it was one year ago. Multiple regression analyses found that the HRQOL of carers whose health had deteriorated in the previous year was associated with the patients care needs but not the carers time input, unlike the carers reporting stable health. Clinicians caring for palliative care patients should be alert to the potential health impairments of informal carers and ensure that they are adequately supported in their caregiving role and have access to appropriate treatment and preventive health care.
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