Quality of life and burden in family caregivers of patients with advanced cancer receiving specialized palliative care

Indian J Cancer. 2021 Jan 27. doi: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_671_19. Online ahead of print.


Background: The caregivers of advanced cancer patients face many physical, psychological, social, and economic problems. In this study, the quality of life and burden in the primary family caregiver of patients with advanced cancer receiving inpatient palliative care were investigated.

Methods: A total of 200 patients with advanced cancer hospitalized at palliative care center and primary caregivers were included. Functional capacities of patients were evaluated with Karnofsky Performance Scale and need of care with Katz index. The Turkish version of World Health Organization Quality of Life Instrument, Short Form (WHOQOL-BREF TR) was used to assess the quality of life of caregivers.

Results: The median Karnofsky Performance score of patients was found to be 30% and Katz Index score to be 2. The mean WHOQOL-BREF TR domain scores of family caregivers were 48.96 (Standard deviation (SD) =12.67) for physical health, 59.21 (SD=14.09) for psychological status, 56.83 (SD=20.91) for social relations, and 55.67 (SD=14.13) for environmental domain. Scores of psychological and environmental subscales were lower in women caregivers. The environmental subscale showed a significant difference in terms of education. The score of social relations subscale of the care giving spouse was lower than caregiving children and siblings. The score of environmental subscale of caregivers with insufficient income was found to be lower than caregivers with sufficient income. Karnofsky Performance and Katz Index scores and subscales of WHOQOL-BREF TR did not reveal any significant relation.

Conclusion: This study showed that all subscales of quality of life are impaired in caregivers of advanced cancer patients, physical health being the most prominent.

Keywords: Cancer; caregiver; quality of life.