- 1School of Nursing, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland OR 97239, USA. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2Gastroenterology & Hepatology, VA Portland Health Care System, Portland OR 97239, USA.
- 3William F. Connell School of Nursing, Boston College, Boston MA 02467, USA.
- 4School of Nursing, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland OR 97239, USA.
Background & aims: Management of end-stage liver disease (ESLD) has implications for not only patients' quality of life (QOL), but also their caregivers'. We aimed to identify characteristics of patients with ESLD and their caregivers that are associated with QOL.
Methods: We obtained cross-sectional baseline data from patients and their caregivers (132 dyads; 62% were married or partners), recruited from outpatient hepatology clinics within 2 healthcare centers. Patients were included if their model for end-stage liver disease score was 15 or more; caregivers were identified by the patient as the primary informal caregiver. QOL was measured by the SF-36 and relationship quality using the mutuality scale. We measured uncertainty using the uncertainty in illness scales for patients and caregivers. Multilevel modeling was used to analyze the data.
Results: Refractory ascites was associated with worse physical QOL for patients (unstandardized beta [B], -9.19; standard error [SE], 2.28) and caregivers (B, -5.41; SE, 2.33); history of hepatic encephalopathy was associated with worse patient physical QOL (B, -3.86; SE, 1.65). High levels of uncertainty were associated with worse physical and mental QOL for both members of the dyads; relationship quality was significantly associated with patient mental QOL (B, 2.73; SE, 1.19).
Conclusions: Clinicians and researchers should consider the effects of ESLD on caregivers as well as their patients to optimize the QOL for both.