A prospective analysis on fatigue and experienced burden in informal caregivers of cancer patients during cancer treatment in the palliative phase
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SourceActa Oncologica, 54, 4, (2015), pp. 500-6
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 3: Disorders of movement DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Radboudumc 9: Rare cancers RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND: Although fatigue is the most frequently occurring symptom in patients with cancer, hardly anything is known about fatigue of their informal caregivers and the impact fatigue might have on perceived burden with providing care. We investigated the presence of fatigue in caregivers, its course and the relation of fatigue severity between caregivers and patients. Furthermore, we explored in caregivers whether fatigue severity was correlated to experienced burden. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Informal caregivers and patients on cancer treatment in the palliative phase completed questionnaires at baseline and follow-up (6 months later). To measure fatigue severity, both groups completed the Checklist Individual Strength. Additionally, caregivers completed the Caregivers Strain Index to assess experienced burden with providing care. Descriptive analyses, paired t-tests, chi(2)-tests, Pearson's correlations and regression analysis were performed. RESULTS: At baseline 111 couples (patients and caregivers) participated, at follow-up 75 couples. At both time points 23% of caregivers were severely fatigued. There was no significant correlation between patients and caregivers on fatigue. Higher fatigue in both patients and caregivers was correlated with higher burden in caregivers and over 30% of burden could be explained by fatigue. CONCLUSION: Almost a quarter of caregivers of patients on active palliative treatment were severely fatigued, which figure remained stable over time. Fatigue in both patients and caregivers was related to caregivers' burden. This observation should be taken into account with the growing demand on caregivers and the increase in cancer treatment options in the palliative setting.
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