Predictors of Distress in Family Caregivers of Neurosurgery Patients during Palliative Care
Keywords:functional ability, family caregivers’ needs, family caregivers’ preparedness, diagnosis time, distress, neurosurgery patients during palliative care
Objectives: To examine predictive powers of the patients’ functional ability, the caregivers’ needs, the caregivers’ preparedness, and diagnosis time in relation to the distress experienced by the caregivers of the neurosurgery patients during palliative care
Design: Descriptive predictive study Methodology: This study sample was 109 patients during the 3rd to 5th days of post-neurosurgery palliative care, whose index of activity of daily living was ≤ 75 points, and 109 family caregivers providing the patients with during-hospitalisation and post-discharge care. All of the subjects were receiving treatment at the surgery ward of a tertiary hospital in Northeastern Thailand. The data-collecting instruments consisted of 1) a demographic questionnaire for the patients and their family caregivers; 2) the Palliative Performance Scale for Adult, or PPS (Suandok version); 3) the Problems and Needs in Palliative Care Questionnaire—Caregiver Form, or PNPC-c; 4) the Preparedness for Caregiving Scale; and 5) the Distress Thermometer. Multiple regression statistics with the enter method was used for analysis.
Results: High distress was found in 43.1% of the family caregivers. Functional ability assistance for activities of daily living was needed in 86.2% ( = 30.30, SD = 11.26) of the patients. Most (73.1%) of the family caregivers’ greatest need was the means of caring for the patients ( = 15.48, SD = 3.01), whilst 48.6% displayed a moderate level of care preparedness (48.6%, = 17.96, SD = 7.34). For more than half (62.4%) of the patients, the diagnosis took five days or less (≤ 5 days; = 9.79, SD = 10.66). The factors capable of significantly predicting the family caregivers’ distress were the caregivers’ needs, caregivers’ preparedness, and diagnosis time, respectively (β = .346; β = -.203; β = -.188, p < .05).
Recommendations: Nurses are advised to assess, during the three to five days of palliative care following the patients’ neurosurgery, the caregivers’ distress, assistance needs, and pre- and post-operative care preparedness. This is to ensure the nurses’ readiness to provide the caregivers with prompt and timely help.
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