Korean J Hosp Palliat Care.  2016 Mar;19(1):61-69. 10.14475/kjhpc.2016.19.1.61.

Factors Associated with Care Burden among Family Caregivers of Terminally Ill Cancer Patients

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Incheon, Korea. spfe0211@hanmail.net
  • 2Department of Family Medicine, Kyungpook National University Medical Center, Daegu, Korea. kimin0204@hanmail.net
  • 3Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Ulsan University Hospital, Ulsan, Korea.
  • 4Department of Family Medicine, Ilsan Hospital, Goyang, Korea.
  • 5Department of Palliative Medicine, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 6Department of Family Medicine, Korea University Guro Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 7Department of Family Medicine, St. Paul's Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 8Department of Statistics, Dongguk University, Seoul, Korea.


It is important to alleviate care burden for terminal cancer patients and their families. This study investigated the factors associated with care burden among family caregivers (FCs) of terminally ill cancer patients.
We analyzed data from 289 FCs of terminal cancer patients who were admitted to palliative care units of seven medical centers in Korea. Care burden was assessed using the Korean version of Caregiver Reaction Assessment (CRA) scale which comprises five domains. A multivariate logistic regression model with stepwise variable selection was used to identify factors associated with care burden.
Diverse associating factors were identified in each CRA domain. Emotional factors had broad influence on care burden. FCs with emotional distress were more likely to experience changes to their daily routine (adjusted odds ratio (aOR), 2.54; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.29~5.02), lack of family support (aOR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.04~4.97) and health issues (aOR, 5.44; 2.50~11.88). Family functionality clearly reflected a lack of support, and severe family dysfunction was linked to financial issues as well. FCs without religion or comorbid conditions felt more burdened. The caregiving duration and daily caregiving hours significantly predicted FCs' lifestyle changes and physical burden. FCs who were employed, had weak social support or could not visit frequently, had a low self-esteem.
This study indicates that it is helpful to understand FCs' emotional status and family functions to assess their care burden. Thus, efforts are needed to lessen their financial burden through social support systems.


Cost of illness; Caregivers; Neoplasms; Palliative care

MeSH Terms

Cost of Illness
Life Style
Logistic Models
Odds Ratio
Palliative Care
Terminally Ill*
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