Background: Caregiving for a person with cancer at end of life can be stressful physically and emotionally. Understanding the predictors of change in family caregivers’ quality of life (QoL) is important in facilitating the development of interventions to help these family caregivers.
Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the change in QoL of family caregivers of home hospice patients in Singapore near the end of life with advanced cancer from baseline to after 2 months.
Methods: This was a longitudinal survey. Ninety-three caregivers were surveyed. Instruments included the Caregiver Quality of Life Index–Cancer, Social Support Questionnaire, and Spiritual Perspective Scale.
Results: Caregivers’ spiritual-related interactions scores increased from baseline to 2 months using paired t test (t = 2.33, P = .02). Multivariate regression analysis showed that caregivers with higher social support satisfaction (β = .60, P = .000) and who had a religion predicted (β = .55, P = .001) higher QoL. Caregivers of patients diagnosed with breast cancer and cancer in the female reproductive organs (β = −.33, P = .03) predicted lower QoL.
Conclusion: This study elucidated the importance of caregivers’ social support satisfaction during their caregiving journey. There is a need to enhance spiritual care for caregivers.
Implications for practice: Support for caregivers could be increased by organizing mutual support groups and having volunteers to befriend caregivers. Spiritual care could be enhanced by regular assessment of spiritual needs, offering open discussions and sharing on spirituality and religion, and facilitating contacts with religious groups if caregivers required.
Author Affiliations: Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore.
This study was funded by the Singapore Cancer Society (grant WBS:R-545-000-040-592).
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Correspondence: Mabel Q. H. Leow, BSc Nsg (Honors), Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Level 2, Clinical Research Centre, Block MD 11, 10 Medical Dr, Singapore 117597 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Accepted for publication August 13, 2013.