Few studies have addressed the health-related quality of life (HRQL) impact of bereavement. The objective of this study was to evaluate the HRQL of the main caregiver after the death of a close elderly relative. 142 caregivers were invited to participate in a phone interview with the SF-36. General population SF-36 norms were used to calculate the gender and age standardised physical component summary (PCS) and mental component summary (MCS) scores. A MCS below 43 was used as an indicator of possible depression. Databases of several patient studies were additionally used to facilitate interpretation of results. 130 caregivers (91.5%) participated, the majority being women (80%), middle aged (56 years), and the spouse (22%) or son/daughter (56%) of the deceased person. Caregivers' SF-36 scores were lower than expected for mental health, role emotional and social functioning. Their MCS was below that expected by 0.6 SD units, whereas their PCS was above by 0.2 SD. The proportion of caregivers with possible depression was 33.8%. First-degree family relationship with the deceased (OR=4.5), and lower age of the deceased (OR=3.8) were significantly associated (p<0.02) to a possible depression. The recent death of an elderly person is associated with significant emotional health impact on the caregiver. © Springer 2005.
- Attitude to death
- Quality of life