Family reported outcomes, an unmet need in the management of a patient's disease: appraisal of the literature
Shah, R., Ali, F. M., Finlay, A. Y., and Salek, M. S.
BACKGROUND: A person's chronic health condition or disability can have a huge impact on the quality of life (QoL) of the whole family, but this important impact is often ignored. This literature review aims to understand the impact of patients' disease on family members across all medical specialities, and appraise existing generic and disease-specific family quality of life (QoL) measures.
METHODS: The databases Medline, EMBASE, CINHAL, ASSIA, PsycINFO and Scopus were searched for original articles in English measuring the impact of health conditions on patients' family members/partner using a valid instrument.
RESULTS: Of 114 articles screened, 86 met the inclusion criteria. They explored the impact of a relative's disease on 14,661 family members, mostly 'parents' or 'mothers', using 50 different instruments across 18 specialities including neurology, oncology and dermatology, in 33 countries including the USA, China and Australia. These studies revealed a huge impact of patients' illness on family members. An appraisal of family QoL instruments identified 48 instruments, 42 disease/speciality specific and six generic measures. Five of the six generics are aimed at carers of children, people with disability or restricted to chronic disease. The only generic instrument that measures the impact of any condition on family members across all specialities is the Family Reported Outcome Measure (FROM-16). Although most instruments demonstrated good reliability and validity, only 11 reported responsiveness and only one reported the minimal clinically important difference.
CONCLUSIONS: Family members' QoL is greatly impacted by a relative's condition. To support family members, there is a need for a generic tool that offers flexibility and brevity for use in clinical settings across all areas of medicine. FROM-16 could be the tool of choice, provided its robustness is demonstrated with further validation of its psychometric properties.
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