End-of-Life Caregiving: What Helps Family Caregivers Cope?

Ellen M. Redinbaugh*, Andrew Baum, Sally Tarbell, Robert Arnold

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Patient care needs and patient quality-of-life (QOL) deficits can be significant stressors for family caregivers. Often, greater caregiving demands and poorer patient QOL are associated with greater caregiver strain. However, caregiver coping behavior can attenuate the effect of caregiving stressors on caregiver strain. This study examined the relationships among caregiving stressors, coping, and caregiver strain in a sample of 31 family caregivers and their terminally ill loved ones enrolled in home hospice programs. Caregiving stressors included patient activity of daily living (ADL) needs and dimensions of patient QOL. Coping was measured with the Family Crisis Personal Evaluation Scale (F-COPES), which has five coping scales: acquiring social support, reframing, seeking spiritual support, passive appraisal, and mobilizing the family to acquire and accept help. Caregiver strain was significantly correlated with patient ADL needs (r = 0.51), patient psychological distress (r = 0.42), and patient existential QOL (r = -0.65). Regression equations indicated that reframing coping lessened caregiver strain. Caregivers who accepted their loved one's illness, redefined illness-related problems in a more manageable way, and felt capable of solving illness-related problems had less caregiver strain than caregivers who used less of a reframing coping style.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)901-909
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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