Purpose/Objectives: To examine the relationship between caregiver burden and symptom distress in patients with terminal cancer who are enrolled in hospice.
Design: Descriptive, quantitative.
Setting: A large, metropolitan, nonprofit-based organization in west central Florida.
Sample: Convenience sample of 30 patient-caregiver dyads enrolled in hospice.
Methods: Caregivers completed the Caregiver Reaction Scale to measure the level of caregiver burden; patients completed the Adopted Symptom Distress Scale. Results were correlated using a Pearson correlation.
Main Research Variables: Symptom distress and caregiver burden.
Findings: The patient sample exhibited low symptom distress, and the caregiver sample exhibited moderate caregiver burden. A statistically significant moderate correlation existed between symptom distress and caregiver burden.
Conclusions: The significant moderate correlation confirms the idea that caregiver burden and patient symptom distress are related. Future studies are needed to obtain a more representative sample of caregivers of patients closer to death, even if those patients are nonresponsive.
Implications for Nursing Practice: This information can assist hospice nurses in assessing and formulating targeted care for symptom distress and caregiver burden in their patients.