Purpose: Satisfaction with care is important for quality assurance in oncology, but may differ between patients and caregivers. We aimed to assess satisfaction with cancer care in paired analyses of these groups, examine differences between them, and identify areas for potential intervention.
Methods: Patients with advanced cancer and their caregivers were recruited from 24 medical oncology outpatient clinics. Satisfaction with care was measured using the FAMCARE (caregivers) and FAMCARE-Patient (patients) scales. Quality of life (QOL) was measured with the Caregiver QOL Index-Cancer (caregivers) and FACIT-Sp (patients). The paired t test assessed differences in overall satisfaction and individual scores. In addition, scores were dichotomized into satisfied versus not satisfied, and McNemar's test was used to assess differences. Multivariable linear regression analyses assessed predictors of patient and caregiver satisfaction, respectively.
Results: Satisfaction ratings in the 191 patient-caregiver pairs were high, but patients were more satisfied (p = 0.02). Both groups were least satisfied with information regarding prognosis and pain management. Caregivers were significantly less satisfied than patients regarding coordination of care (p = 0.001) and family inclusion in treatment/care decisions (p < 0.0001). In both groups, higher education was associated with lower satisfaction (p ≤ 0.01), while better QOL predicted greater satisfaction (p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Communication regarding pain control and prognosis were identified as key areas for improvement. Caregivers seem to desire greater involvement in treatment decisions, though this must be balanced with patient autonomy.