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Variations in Grief, Anxiety, Depression and Health among Family Caregivers before and after the Death of a Close Person in Palliative Home Care (oral presentation)

Conference contribution
Authors Maja Holm
Kristofer Årestedt
Joakim Öhlen
Anette Alvariza
Published in 16th Word Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC). Berlin, May 23-25, Abstract FC 25
Publication year 2019
Published at University of Gothenburg Centre for person-centred care (GPCC)
Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Language en
Subject categories Nursing, Palliative medicine


Background: Feelings of grief, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and poor health are often observed in family caregivers both before and after an expected death. However, the variations over time needs to be explored further and it needs to be examined if support during caregiv- ing could influence these emotional reactions. Aims: The aim was to investigate longitudinal variations in grief, symp- toms of anxiety and depression and self-rated health among family car- egivers in palliative home care who participated in a randomised psycho-educational intervention study. Methods: Data derived from a randomised intervention study with two arms (intervention and control). Data were collected through self- reported questionnaires at four time points: baseline, after the interven- tion, two months later and six months after the patient’s death. Analyses were performed using a mixed model ANOVA for pre-death grief (3 measurements) and anxiety, depression and health (4 measurements). Post-death grief was measured at one occasion, after the patient’s death. Unpaired T-tests were used to examine differences between interventions and controls after death. Results: In total, 117 family caregivers completed all measurements. Grief was stable across the three pre-death measurements with no sig- nificant variations, while anxiety, depression and health varied signifi- cantly across the four time points. After the patients’ death, the level of anxiety and depression decreased, and health increased. No significant differences were found between interventions and controls for any of the variables neither pre- or post-death. Conclusion: This study showed different patterns in grief compared to anxiety and depression and health. This adds to a body of research showing that grief is distinct from symptoms of anxiety and depression. Further, it also demonstrates the complex emotional reactions of being a family caregiver in palliative care.

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