Goal of work: Research on global quality of life (GQOL) in primary caregivers (PCGs) of cancer patients is limited. This study measured significant domains of GQOL in PCGs and their association with the patients' disease trajectory and the PCGs' background and life situation. This study also explored differences in their GQOL compared to a normative sample from the general population (NORM).
Patient and methods: In a cross-sectional design, 71 PCGs (aged > or = 50 years) of cancer patients in palliative phase rated their GQOL by the Quality of Life Scale (QOLS) and provided information concerning demography, experienced social support, and caring situation. Associations between the QOLS scores and variables of the patients' medical history were assessed, and comparisons of QOLS scores were made between the PCGs and age- and gender-adjusted NORM.
Main results: Long duration of the curative phase for patients and holding a job for PCGs were significantly associated with a favorable GQOL in PCGs. The mean total GQOL score did not differ significantly between the PCGs and NORM groups, though subanalyses revealed significantly more favorable mean score of the relational domain in PCGs compared to NORM.
Conclusions: GQOL in PCGs of cancer patients in palliative phase staying at home was as good as that of the NORM. For PCGs not employed or caring for patients with a short curative phase, getting some recreation could be of importance for improvement of GQOL.