Spiritual quality of life in family carers of patients with advanced cancer—a cross-sectional study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSupportive Care in Cancer. 2021, 29, 5329–5339. 10.1007/s00520-021-06080-5
Purpose Caring affects carers’ psychological and physical health, mortality, and quality of life (QoL) negatively. Lower spiritual QoL is associated with anxiety and depression, but the spiritual dimension is rarely investigated in carers. The present study aimed to explore which patient- and carer-related characteristics were associated with spiritual QoL in carers of patients with advanced cancer. Methods Secondary analyses were conducted using data from a prospective study investigating integration between oncology and palliative care. Adult patients with advanced cancer and their carers were included, and baseline data considering demographics, clinical characteristics, symptoms, social support, and religious meaning-making were registered. Spiritual QoL was measured using the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy - Spiritual well-being (FACIT-Sp-12) questionnaire. Associations to spiritual QoL were explored by bivariate and multivariate regression models. Results In total, 84 carers were included, median age was 62.5 years, 52 (62%) were female, and the average spiritual QoL score was 23.3. In bivariate analyses, higher education, social support, and lower patients’ symptom burden were significantly associated with higher spiritual QoL. The multivariate regression model (n=77) had an explained variance (R2) = 0.34 and showed a significant association for social support, higher education, having children < 18 years living at home, and patient’s age. Conclusion The study indicates that spiritual QoL in carers were low and were negatively affected by several factors related to both carers and patients. However, there could be other important factors not yet described. Health care professionals should be aware of the known associated factors, as carers who hold these may need extra support.