Background Family caregivers of patients with heart failure report high stress, burden, and poor emotional and physical health, but less is known about predictors of health among these caregivers.
Objectives To determine predictors of family caregiving outcomes among caregivers of patients with heart failure and to identify the tasks reported as most difficult and the most negative outcomes.
Methods A total of 63 patients with heart failure and their 63 family caregivers were enrolled in this prospective study. Data were collected from medical records and from interviews conducted at baseline and 4 and 8 months later.
Results Caregivers reported moderately poor physical and emotional health-related quality of life. Those with more depressive symptoms at baseline were more likely to report their lives had changed for the worse at 4 months (P = .03). The caregivers’ medical health condition (P<.001) and perceived difficulty of caregiving tasks (P = .04) were predictors of physical health-related quality of life at 4 months; at 8 months, medical health condition was the only predictor (P = .004). At 4 and 8 months, depressive symptoms were predictors of emotional health-related quality of life (P < .001 and P = .001, respectively). The most difficult caregiving tasks were those dealing with patients’ behavior problems; the most negative outcome was having less time for activities with friends.
Conclusions Studies are needed in larger samples to identify needs of vulnerable populations of caregivers of patients with heart failure and to develop and test interventions for improving caregivers’ outcomes.