Home | News | Carers suffer poor health for a year after loved one dies: new research

Carers suffer poor health for a year after loved one dies: new research

Acting as the primary carer for a family member can lead to poor health and lower quality of life for up to a year after the loved one has passed away.

New research by Curtin University found that, compared to non-carers, it often took carers 9–10 months to return to ‘normal’ health levels.

Lead author Associate Professor Lauren Breen, from the School of Psychology at Curtin University, said: “Caring for a dying loved one can be a full-time and exhaustive commitment, but the grief, general health and quality of life that the carer experiences before and after death can sometimes be overlooked.

“By measuring how carers were feeling in the time period leading up to the death, and then at three different time periods following the death, we were able to show that it took 9–10 months for the carers’ grief, general health and quality of life to return to ‘normal’.

“We also found that while caring, the carers’ quality of life and general health were low and their grief was similar to what they experienced 3–4 months following the death,” she said.

Breen added that the research provides an opportunity for more palliative care research in the area of carer grief and draws attention to the need for better carer support services.

“Interventions are needed to help carers prepare for the death, improve their health and quality of life, and promote adaptive grieving.”

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