Quality of life discordance between terminal cancer patients and family caregivers: a multicenter study

Yong Joo Lee, Jung Eun Kim, Youn Seon Choi, In Cheol Hwang, Sun Wook Hwang, Young Sung Kim, Hyo Min Kim, Hong Yup Ahn, So Jin Kim

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Research studies on quality of life (QOL) discordance between cancer patients and family caregivers are limited, and the results are inconsistent. The objective of this study was to examine QOL discordance between patients and family caregivers in a hospice setting and to identify factors associated with the discordance. Methods: We enrolled 178 patient-family caregiver pairs from six tertiary hospital hospice palliative care units in South Korea in this cross-sectional study. To establish groupings based on patient and family caregiver QOL levels, we measured the QOL of patient and family caregiver pairs using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 15 for Palliative Care and the Caregiver QOL Index-Cancer, respectively. Pairs were categorized into the following three groups: both good QOL pairs, only poor patient QOL, and only poor family caregiver QOL. Factors associated with only poor patient or only poor family caregiver QOL were compared to both good QOL pairs. A stepwise multivariate regression model was used to identify relevant factors. Results: The QOL of family caregivers did not correlate significantly (P = 0.227) with QOL in terminally ill cancer patients. As well, poor emotional function in patients was the only significant factor associated with the only poor patient QOL group [adjusted odds ratio (aOR), 4.1; 95 % confidence interval (CI), 1.5–11.5]. However, emotionally distressed family caregivers (aOR, 10.2; 95 % CI, 2.8–37.5), family caregivers who professed a religion (aOR, 4.1; 95 % CI, 1.5–11.3), and family caregivers with low social support (aOR, 3.9; 95 % CI, 1.5–10.6) were independent predictors for the only poor family caregiver QOL group. Conclusions: Assessing the respective emotional status of both the patient and family caregiver is needed in hospice care to reduce the gap in QOL between the two groups. Further, more attention should be paid to the lack of social support for family caregivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2853-2860
Number of pages8
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 1


  • Discordance
  • Emotional distress
  • Family caregiver
  • Quality of life
  • Terminal cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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    Lee, Y. J., Kim, J. E., Choi, Y. S., Hwang, I. C., Hwang, S. W., Kim, Y. S., Kim, H. M., Ahn, H. Y., & Kim, S. J. (2016). Quality of life discordance between terminal cancer patients and family caregivers: a multicenter study. Supportive Care in Cancer, 24(7), 2853-2860. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-016-3108-3