Objective: To determine the effect of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on the quality of life of caregivers.
Design and methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out with forty-two COPD patients and their primary caregivers. Patients were assessed with the medical outcome survey short form (SF-36), the physical and mental component summary (PCS and MCS), Saint George's respiratory questionnaire (SGRQ), 6-min walking test, and spirometric and blood gas measurements. Caregivers were assessed using the medical outcome survey short form (SF-36), the physical and mental component summary (PCS and MCS), the 5-point Likert scale for measuring caregiver/patient relationships and the caregiver burden scale (CB scale).
Results: The majority of caregivers were female (85.3%), married (59%) and had low levels of income and schooling. The mean age was 51.6+/-16 years. Mean caregiver PCS and MCS scores were 45.9+/-10 and 46+/-12, while the mean total burden score was 1.79+/-0.6. The regression analysis showed caregiver/patient relationship quality, caregiver MCS scores and patient PCS scores to be important predictors of burden and explained 63% of the variance.
Conclusions: COPD causes a significant impact on the quality of life of caregivers. The two most important predictors of COPD burden are the relationship between caregivers and patients and caregiver MCS scores.