Former palliative caregivers who identify that additional spiritual support would have been helpful in a population survey

Margaret Hegarty, Amy Abernethy, Ian Olver, David Currow

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background: Palliative care encompasses physical, psychosocial and spiritual care for patients and caregivers. No population data are available on bereaved people who subsequently report that additional spiritual support would have been helpful. Methods: In a population survey, a respondent-defined question was asked regarding 'additional spiritual support' that would have been helpful if someone 'close to them had died' an expected death in the previous five years. Data (socio-demographic [respondent]); clinical [deceased]) directly standardized to the whole population were analysed. Results: There were 14,902 participants in this study (71.6% participation rate), of whom 31% (4665) experienced such a death and 1084 (23.2%) provided active hands-on (day-to-day or intermittent) care. Fifty-one of the 1084 (4.7%) active caregivers identified that additional spiritual support would have been helpful. The predictors in a regression analysis were: other domains where additional support would have been helpful (OR 1.69; 95% CI 1.46-1.94; p < 0.001); and being female (OR 3.23; 95% CI 1.23 to 8.33; p = 0.017). 'Additional spiritual support being helpful' was strongly associated with higher rates where additional support in other domains would also have been helpful in: all bereaved people (2.7 vs 0.6; p < 0.0001); and in active caregivers (3.7 vs 0.8; p < 0.0001). Conclusion: People who identify that additional spiritual support would have been helpful have specific demographic characteristics. There is also a strong association with the likelihood of identifying that a number of other additional supports would have been helpful. Clinically, the need for additional spiritual support should open a conversation about other areas where the need for further support may be identified.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)266-277
    Number of pages12
    JournalPalliative Medicine
    Volume25
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011

    Keywords

    • Caregivers
    • health service planning
    • outcome assessments (health care)
    • palliative care
    • spiritual needs

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