Get access

Caring for people with early and advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: how do family carers cope?

Authors

  • Daniela Figueiredo PhD,

    Senior Lecturer, Research Member
    1. School of Health Sciences, University of Aveiro (ESSUA), Aveiro, Portugal
    2. Unidade de Investigação e Formação sobre Adultos e Idosos (UniFAI), Porto, Portugal
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Raquel Gabriel MSc,

    Research Fellow, PhD Student
    1. School of Health Sciences, University of Aveiro (ESSUA), Aveiro, Portugal
    2. Department of Health Sciences, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Cristina Jácome MSc,

    Research Fellow
    1. School of Health Sciences, University of Aveiro (ESSUA), Aveiro, Portugal
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Alda Marques MSc, PhD

    Senior Lecturer , Research Member
    1. School of Health Sciences, University of Aveiro (ESSUA), Aveiro, Portugal
    2. Unidade de Investigação e Formação sobre Adultos e Idosos (UniFAI), Porto, Portugal
    Search for more papers by this author

Correspondence: Daniela Figueiredo, Senior Lecturer, School of Health Sciences, University of Aveiro (ESSUA), Campus Universitário de Santiago, Edifício III, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal. Telephone: +351 234 372 462.

E-mail: daniela.figueiredo@ua.pt

Abstract

Aims and objectives

To examine the coping strategies of family carers of people with early and advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and how those relate to their subjective health.

Background

Caring for a family member with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can be a stressful experience. Understanding how carers cope with this is critical for improving outcomes. However, this topic has received little attention in the literature, particularly considering the care-giving experience with early chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Design

A cross-sectional study with a convenience sample of family carers of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Methods

A structured questionnaire was used to collect data on socio-demographics and care-giving characteristics. Self-rated physical and mental health was measured by two items from the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health checklist. Coping strategies were assessed with the Carers' Assessment of Managing Index. Descriptive and inferential analyses were performed.

Results

A total of 158 family carers participated: 109 caring for people with early and 49 with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The two groups differed significantly on self-rated mental health and on problem-solving, emotional-cognitive and managing stress coping type. Significant correlations between self-rated physical health and problem-solving coping and between self-rated mental health and emotion-cognitive and managing stress coping were found for carers of patients with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Conclusions

This study provides a unique insight into family carer coping strategies at different stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Carers of people with early and advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease cope differently with their caring demands. Nevertheless, problem-focused coping strategies were perceived as the most helpful by both groups.

Relevance to clinical practice

The findings are relevant to informing early supportive interventions aiming to prevent burden and promote healthy adjustment to care-giving demands within the specific context of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Ancillary