The well-being of patients’ informal caregivers is associated with perceived quality of care among patients with cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1

Perceived quality of care is becoming an increasingly important metric of care quality. Because quality of life and physician trust can impact patient-perceived quality of care, researchers sought to evaluate if there is also a relationship between informal caregiver well-being and perceived quality of care.

For the study, investigators analyzed self-reported sociodemographic and psychosocial data from 689 patients with lung or colorectal cancer enrolled in the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance (CanCORS) consortium. Results from a caregiving survey completed by each patient’s nominated informal caregiver were also included.

The investigators found that patients whose informal caregiver reported greater levels of depressive symptoms had a significantly higher likelihood of reporting fair or poor quality of care (odds ratio [OR], 1.06; 95% CI, 1.01-1.13).


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In addition, patients were nearly 4 times more likely to report fair or poor perceived quality of care when their caregivers reported fair or poor self-rated health (OR, 3.76; 95% CI, 1.76-9.55).

However, the significance of these relationships was diminished when controlling for patient psychosocial factors and physician communication and coordination of medical care.

The findings ultimately suggest that engaging informal caregivers of patients with cancer as part of the care team may improve patient-reported outcomes and perceived quality of care.

Reference

1. Litzelman K, Kent EE, Mollica M, Rowland JH. How does caregiver well-being relate to perceived quality of care in patients with cancer? Exploring associations and pathways. J Clin Oncol. 2016 Aug 29. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2016.67.3434. [Epub ahead of print]