A severe burn not only affects the patients, but may also have a great impact on the lives of family members. It is known that family members of patients with burns experience psychological distress, but health-related quality of life (HRQoL) has not been studied in this group. The aim was to study predictors of HRQoL in family members of patients with burns. Forty-four family members of adult patients treated in a burn center, between 2000 and 2007, completed questionnaires during care, and at 3, 6, and 12 months after injury. HRQoL was assessed with the EuroQol 5D (EQ-5D), which consists of the dimensions: mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain, and anxiety/depression. The questionnaire generates an EQ-5D index and a visual analog scale (VAS) score. Overall, the EQ-5D index was similar to that of the general population. A slight improvement in HRQoL was found in the VAS scores and in the anxiety/depression dimension over time. In regression models, HRQoL was primarily predicted by earlier life events, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and HRQoL, assessed during the patients’ hospitalization. In summary, HRQoL assessed with VAS scores increased slightly during the first year postburn, and early screening for life events and psychological symptoms, and HRQoL might be useful in identifying family members in need of support.
From the *Department of Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Uppsala University, Sweden; and †Department of Surgical Sciences, Plastic Surgery, Uppsala University, Sweden.
The Swedish Research Council, the Söderström-Königska Foundation and the Nasvell Foundation supported this study.
Address correspondence to Josefin Bäckström, BSN, RN, Department of Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Uppsala University, Uppsala University Hospital, SE-751 85 Uppsala.