Caregiver Well-Being Linked With Quality of Cancer Patient Care

Informal caregiver well-being is associated with patient-perceived quality of care (QOC), according to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Kristin Litzelman, Ph.D., from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues used data from the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance consortium to examine whether informal caregiver well-being correlated with perceived QOC among patients with cancer. Six hundred eighty-nine patients with lung and colorectal cancer designated an informal caregiver to participate in a caregiving survey. Both patients and caregivers self-reported sociodemographic, psychosocial, and caregiving characteristics.

The researchers found that fair or poor QOC was significantly more likely to be reported among patients whose informal caregiver had higher levels of depressive symptoms (odds ratio, 1.06).

Patients were more likely to report fair or poor perceived QOC when caregivers reported fair or poor self-rated health (odds ratio, 3.76). The effect size and statistical significance of these relationships were reduced when controlling for patient psychosocial factors and physician communication and coordination of medical care.

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“Engaging informal cancer caregivers as part of the care team and conducting ongoing risk stratification screening and intervention to optimize their health may improve patient-reported outcomes and QOC,” the authors write.


  1. Litzelman K, Kent EE, Mollica M, et al. How does caregiver well-being relate to perceived quality of care in patients with cancer? Exploring associations and pathways. J Clin Oncol. 2016 Aug 26. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2016.67.3434. [Epub ahead of print]