Prevalence of and factors associated with demoralization among family caregivers of palliative care patients in Hong Kong

Wallace Chi Ho Chan*, Clare Tsz Kiu Yu, Denis Ka Shaw Kwok, Jamie Kit Ming Wan

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Objectives This study aims to examine (1) the prevalence of demoralization among family caregivers of palliative care patients (PCP) in Hong Kong, (2) the percentage of caregivers who are demoralized but not depressed, (3) the factors associated with demoralization, and (4) the differences in caregivers' support needs between high and low levels of demoralization groups. Methods Ninety-four family caregivers were recruited and completed a questionnaire that included measures of demoralization, depression and caregiving strain, caregivers' support needs, and demographic information. Results The prevalence of demoralization among family caregivers of PCP was found to be 12.8% (cutoff score = 50) and 51.1% (cutoff score = 30). Although 27.7% of caregivers met the criteria of depression and demoralization, 12.8% of demoralized caregivers were not depressed. Depression and caregiving strain were identified as the predictors of demoralization. Caregivers with a poorer subjective physical status and a lower education level are more prone to demoralization. The three major caregivers' needs for support reported were (1) knowing what to expect in the future (77.7%); (2) knowing who to contact (74.5%); and (3) understanding your relative's illness (73.4%). Those who experienced a high level of demoralization often reported more need for support in end-of-life caregiving. Significance of results This is the first study that focused on the demoralization of family caregivers of PCP in the East Asian context. Demoralization is prevalent among these caregivers. We recommend that early assessment of demoralization among family caregivers of PCP be considered, especially for those who are more depressed and have a higher level of caregiving stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPalliative and Supportive Care
Early online date6 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jul 2023

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