The Relationships Between Family Primary Caregiver Characteristics and Satisfaction With Hospice Care, Quality of Life, and Burden

Judy L. Meyers

Louis N. Gray

satisfaction, quality of life, caregiver, caregiver burden, hospice care, attitude

Purpose/Objectives: To examine relationships between family primary caregiver characteristics and satisfaction with hospice care, quality of life (QOL), and burden.

Design: Exploratory, quantitative.

Setting: Five hospice organizations in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.

Sample: 44 primary caregivers of patients enrolled in hospice for more than two weeks.

Methods: Telephone surveys measured primary caregivers’ satisfaction with hospice care, QOL, and burden. Demographic, personal, and situational characteristics were compiled. Multivariate regression techniques were used to identify caregiver characteristics that explained the most variation in satisfaction with hospice care, QOL, and burden.

Main Research Variables: Satisfaction with hospice care, QOL, and burden.

Findings: Being retired, being a wife or daughter, patient diagnosis, per diem rate paid to the hospice organization, county population and density, length of time in hospice, and length of time as a caregiver were significantly related to satisfaction with hospice care, QOL, and burden. Age, sex, education level, occupation, income, patient functional status, and social support were not related to these variables.

Conclusion: Although caregivers reported satisfaction with hospice care, the caregiver role negatively affects their QOL and they are burdened. “At-risk” caregivers are still working, have been providing care for a long time, and live in a rural locale.

Implications for Nursing Practice: These findings create a profile of “typical” and “at-risk” primary caregivers and support the role of hospice to care for family caregivers.

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