The CaregiverVoice Survey: A Pilot Study Surveying Bereaved Caregivers To Measure the Caregiver and Patient Experience at End of Life
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OBJECTIVE: To integrate patient and caregiver feedback into end-of-life (EOL) care improvement, we tested the feasibility of a standardized, common instrument to measure care experiences across multiple settings in the last three months of life. METHODS: We developed and tested a survey, called the CaregiverVoice survey, which combined two validated questionnaires, the FAMCARE-2 and VOICES-SF. A retrospective, observational design was used to survey bereaved caregivers of decedents who had received homecare services in Ontario, Canada. RESULTS: In total, 330 surveys were completed (overall response rate of 13%, regional rates ranged from 4% to 83%). There was less than 5% missing data. Most patients received care from multiple settings in the last three months of life, including 60% for which a hospital stay was reported. The overall mean of the 19 FAMCARE-2 items was 1.7 (SD 0.7), with 72% of ratings as 1 very satisfied to 2 satisfied. On VOICES-SF items, 6% of respondents rated "all end-of-life services" as fair or poor, 24% as good, and 70% as excellent or outstanding, with variation depending on care site rated. 13% of caregivers reported that pain management was fair or poor in the last week of life. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study provides preliminary evidence that it is feasible to capture the patient and caregiver experience at EOL using a comprehensive survey, though survey distribution method greatly affected response rates. The majority of responses rated care as excellent or very good, although several specific areas for improvement were identified.
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