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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2019 Jan;57(1):64-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2018.09.009. Epub 2018 Sep 27.

Family Caregivers' Subjective Caregiving Burden, Quality of Life, and Depressive Symptoms Are Associated With Terminally Ill Cancer Patients' Distinct Patterns of Conjoint Symptom Distress and Functional Impairment in Their Last Six Months of Life.

Author information

1
Department of International Business, Soochow University, Taiwan, ROC.
2
Division of Hematology-Oncology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Linkou, Taiwan, ROC; Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Taiwan, ROC.
3
Division of Hematology-Oncology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Linkou, Taiwan, ROC; Chang Gung University, School of Nursing, Taiwan, ROC; Department of Nursing, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, ROC. Electronic address: sttang@mail.cgu.edu.tw.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Family caregivers constitute a critical component of the end-of-life care system with considerable cost to themselves. However, the joint association of terminally ill cancer patients' symptom distress and functional impairment with caregivers' subjective caregiving burden, quality of life (QOL), and depressive symptoms remains unknown.

OBJECTIVES/METHODS:

We used multivariate hierarchical linear modeling to simultaneously evaluate associations between five distinct patterns of conjoint symptom distress and functional impairment (symptom-functional states) and subjective caregiving burden, QOL, and depressive symptoms in a convenience sample of 215 family caregiver-patient dyads. Data were collected every 2 to 4 weeks over patients' last 6 months.

RESULTS:

Caregivers of patients in the worst symptom-functional states (States 3-5) reported worse subjective caregiving burden and depressive symptoms than those in the best two states, but the three outcomes did not differ between caregivers of patients in State 3 and States 4-5. Caregivers of patients in State 5 endured worse subjective caregiving burden and QOL than those in State 4. Caregivers of patients in State 4 suffered worse subjective caregiving burden and depressive symptoms but comparable QOL to those in State 2.

CONCLUSION:

Patients' five distinct, conjoint symptom-functional states were significantly and differentially associated with their caregivers' worse subjective caregiving burden, QOL, and depressive symptoms while caring for patients over their last 6 months.

KEYWORDS:

Caregiving burden; depressive symptoms; functional impairment; oncology; quality of life; symptom distress; terminally ill cancer

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