Impact of family caregivers’ awareness of the prognosis on their quality of life/depression and those of patients with advanced cancer: a prospective cohort study

Eun Kyo Kang, Bhumsuk Keam, Na Ri Lee, Jung Hun Kang, Yu Jung Kim, Hyun Jeong Shim, Kyung Hae Jung, Su Jin Koh, Hyewon Ryu, Jihye Lee, Jiyeon Choo, Shin Hye Yoo, Young Ho Yun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: A caregiver’s prognostic awareness can affect clinical decisions for the patient. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of family caregivers’ prognostic awareness on the quality of life (QOL) and emotional state of both patients with advanced cancer and their caregivers. Methods: This prospective cohort study was conducted from December of 2016 to January of 2018. A total of 159 patients with advanced cancer and an equal number of caregivers participated. The investigation tools used include the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-C15-Palliative, the McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire, and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, and evaluation was performed at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. Covariance analysis with a general linear modeling was used to compare changes in quality of life scores according to the caregivers’ awareness of the prognosis. Results: Mean patient overall QOL score increased in the group of caregivers who were aware of prognosis and decreased in the caregivers who were not aware of the prognosis (p = 0.018). The changes over time in the patients’ QOL scores associated with symptoms improved with caregiver awareness (pain, p = 0.017; dyspnea, p = 0.048; appetite loss, p = 0.045). The percentage of depressed patients was smaller after 3 months in the group with caregivers aware of the prognosis (baseline to 3 months p = 0.028). Caregivers who did not understand their patients’ prognosis exhibited better existential well-being (p = 0.036), and the incidence of depression was lower in this group at 3 months (p = 0.024). Conclusion: Caregivers’ prognostic awareness may improve the quality of life and mood in patients with advanced cancer; however, this awareness may harm the quality of life and mood of the caregivers. These results may aid in developing in-depth interventions regarding prognosis for both patients and their caregivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-407
Number of pages11
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Advanced cancer patients
  • Caregiver’s awareness
  • Depression
  • Prognostic awareness
  • Quality of life

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