Correlates of Health Status for Family Caregivers in Bereavement
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The purpose of this retrospective cohort study was to identify aspects of caregiving associated with health status among family caregivers in bereavement. Study participants included 151 family caregivers of terminally ill patients who had died, on average, 294 days prior to the study telephone interview. The interview covered two main areas: patient characteristics and caregiver characteristics. Multivariate linear regressions revealed that as the age of the care recipient (regression coefficient [b] = -0.32; 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.48,-0.15) and caregiver (b = -0.14; 95% CI = -0.25, -0.02) increased, caregivers experienced a decline in their physical health during bereavement. Furthermore, caregivers who reported that caregiving interrupted their usual activities (b = -5.97; 95% CI = -9.79, -2.15) had a decline in physical health during bereavement. A poorer mental health status during bereavement was seen in caregivers who reported poor physical health during caregiving (b = -4.31; 95% CI = -8.17, -0.45); and that they received insufficient family support in caregiving (b = -6.01; 95% CI = -9.75, -2.27). It was also revealed that a home death was associated with higher mental health of the caregiver (b = 3.55; 95% CI = 0.26, 6.84). The practice implications of these findings are discussed in this paper.