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The end-of-life experience: modifiable predictors of caregivers' bereavement adjustment.

Garrido MM, Prigerson HG. The end-of-life experience: modifiable predictors of caregivers' bereavement adjustment. Cancer. 2014 Mar 15; 120(6):918-25.

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BACKGROUND: The objective of the current study was to determine the best set of predictors of psychological disorders, regrets, health-related quality of life, and mental health function among bereaved caregivers of patients with cancer, thereby identifying promising targets for interventions to improve bereavement adjustment. METHODS: Coping with Cancer is a longitudinal study of patients with advanced cancer and their informal caregivers who were enrolled from 2002 to 2008. The main outcome measure was bereavement adjustment of 245 caregivers (eg, depression, anxiety, and regrets) 6 months after the loss of the patient. The Structured Clinical Interview of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders determined whether caregivers met the criteria for major depressive disorder or an anxiety disorder. Changes in health-related quality of life and mental health function from baseline to after the patient's death were assessed with the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form (SF-36). RESULTS: Greater than 50% of the caregivers reported regret about the cancer patient's end-of-life care; better patient quality of death (adjusted odds ratio, 0.77; 95% confidence interval, 0.67-0.88) reduced the risk of bereavement regret. The incidence of major depressive disorder or anxiety among the bereaved caregivers was 12.6% and was less likely for caregivers with better mental health before the loss of the patient (adjusted odds ratio, 0.03; 95% confidence interval, 0.004-0.25). Better patient quality of death also predicted improved caregiver health-related quality of life (adjusted standardized beta, .28; P? < .001). The completion of a do-not-resuscitate order was found to be predictive of improved mental health from before the death of the patient to after the death (adjusted standardized beta, .29; P? < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Reducing caregiver distress, encouraging advance care planning by patients, and improving patients' quality of death appear to be promising targets of interventions to improve caregiver bereavement adjustment.

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