Given, B., et al. (2004). Burden and Depression Among Caregivers of Patients With Cancer at the End of Life. Oncology Nursing Forum, 31(6), 1105-1117. This is an abbreviated abstract, see full version.
Purpose/Objectives: To examine the patient and family caregiver variables that predicted caregiver burden and depression for family caregivers of patients with cancer at the end of life.
Design: A prospective, longitudinal study was implemented with an inception cohort of patients and their family caregivers who were followed after the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Community oncology sites in the midwestern United States. 152 family caregivers of patients with cancer who died during the course of the study. Telephone interviews were conducted with patients at 6-8, 12-16, 24-30, and 52 weeks following diagnoses. In addition, patient medical records and state death certificates were reviewed.
Findings: Caregivers aged 45-54 reported the highest levels of depressive symptoms, and caregivers aged 35-44 reported the strongest sense of abandonment. Caregivers who were the adult children of patients with cancer and those who were employed reported high levels of depressive symptoms. Feeling abandoned (a portion of caregiver burden) was more prevalent in female, nonspouse, and adult children caregivers, and adult children caregivers of patients with early-stage cancer and patients with multiple symptoms reported a high perception of disruption in their schedule because of providing care. Caregivers whose patients died early following diagnosis reported the highest depressive symptoms, burden, and impact on schedule.