Background: Caregivers of people with advanced cancer take on a vital role in the care of the patient but often at a cost to their own psychological functioning. Previous research has demonstrated that some caregivers do very poorly, reporting high levels of distress, burden and reduced quality of life
Aim: This study aims to identify the relationship between caregiver and patient outcomes, and identify predictors of high caregiver and patient distress.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey design was used. Caregivers completed measures on: psychological functioning (Brief Symptom Inventory), self-efficacy (Caregiver Self-efficacy Scale), burden (Caregiver Reaction Assessment), Quality of Life (Quality of Life Questionnaire) and Care tasks (Clinical Care Tasks Measure). Patients with a diagnosis of lung or gastrointestinal cancer completed questionnaires on symptoms (Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale), psychological functioning (Brief Symptom Inventory) and quality of life (EORTC QLQ C-30). Correlations identified factors related to distress in both caregivers and patients and factors were used in multiple regression models to determine their predictive value.
Results: Data will be reported on 66 dyads. Caregivers were mostly female (70%) aged between 29-78(mean 57 years). Patients were mostly male (62%), aged between 39-87 (mean 62 years). Caregivers and patients frequently lived together (78%) and were most frequently married (65%). Psychological functioning was poorer in the caregiver group than in was in the patient group (p<0.05). Caregiver and patient distress were strongly correlated. Regression models will further explore predictors of high caregiver and patient distress.
Conclusions: Psychological distress impacts a significant number of caregivers, with higher distress than patients themselves. Carer and patient distress is closely related, indicating the importance of supporting both the caregiver and patient. This study identifies factors contributing to poorly functioning caregiver and patient dyads, which allows for high-risk patients and caregivers to be identified and engaged in supports.