BACKGROUND:: Coronary artery bypass (CAB) patients often rely on spouses for care and assistance during recovery after surgery. Caregiving can be stressful and meaningful depending upon the interplay of many factors not completely understood. These factors may affect the spouse caregiver's health-related quality of life (HRQL), which may impact ability to care for the CAB patient. OBJECTIVE:: To investigate patient-spouse caregiver relationship and role variables associated with caregiver burden during the first year after CAB surgery. METHODS:: Using a cross-sectional design, a convenience sample of CAB spouses was recruited at 3, 6, or 12 months. Spouses (n ≤ 166) completed a survey that included perceptions of patient health status, caregiver burden and other caregiving variables, and caregiver HRQL. RESULTS:: Higher burden scores were associated with patient's gender (female), poorer patient health status, lower caregiver mental HRQL, increased personal gain, and increased caregiver competence. These correlates explained 38% of the variance in caregiver burden. DISCUSSION:: Only poorer patient health status and lower caregiver mental HRQL were supported by previous research in this population. Positive relationships between burden and caregiver competence and personal gain may be a reflection that spouse caregivers were invested and working hard. They felt satisfied from enhancement of self but were burdened from their caregiving role, providing support for a previously described two-domain caregiving model. Caregiver screening is essential to identify spouses at high risk for negative outcomes. Longitudinal research is needed to identify the correlates and predictors most likely to influence burden and caregiver gain over time, and to more fully understand caregiving in the CAB population.
- Caregiver burden
- Health-related quality of life
- Objective burden
- Outcomes of caregiving
- Subjective burden