Early involvement of palliative care improves patient quality of life. The effect of early palliative care on caregiver quality of life is less understood for the reason that the construct of quality of life is less developed in caregivers than in patients.
Lay caregivers provide an important and extensive contribution to patient palliative care. Even though many caregivers describe personal growth and satisfaction from this work, it may also impair their psychological and physical health, and financial well-being.
A study (see reference), aimed to develop an understanding of the quality of life domains from the perspective of caregivers of patients with advanced cancer, defines six major themes
with profound influence on the caregiving experience:
- living in the patient’s world
- the burden of illness and caregiving
- assuming the caregiver role
- renegotiating relationships
- confronting mortality
- maintaining resilience
Early palliative care offers an opportunity to cover more inclusively these areas of potential impact for the caregiver. Awareness of these important elements may update the clinical practice for palliative care professionals and allow improvement of adequate interventions.
See reference for more information.
Adapted from McDonald J et al. Caregiver quality of life in advanced cancer: qualitative results from a trial of early palliative care. Palliative Medicine 2018;32(1):69–78.