Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 June 2014
Caregivers play a key role in the management of patients with cancer. However, some studies have suggested that caregivers have even more unmet needs than the patients.
To better identify the needs and changes in the lifestyles of the caregivers in our practice and to plan a targeted support project to decrease caregiver burden, we administered the Caregiver's QoL Index–Cancer (CQoLC) to 200 consecutive caregivers. This questionnaire assesses psychological well-being, the relationship with healthcare professionals, administration of finances, lifestyle disruption, and positive adaptation.
Our data showed that being a caregiver to a patient with metastatic disease negatively affected females mostly with regard to mental and emotional burden, while men complained more about their sexual life (42.3 vs. 33.6%), although this result was not significant. Some 93.5% of caregivers reported that they were pleased with their role, while 83.4% were concerned about financial difficulties.
We strongly believe that early supportive care directed not only at patients but also to caregivers may improve the quality of life (QoL) in this population. We are currently developing a targeted support project to decrease caregiver burden.