BACKGROUND: Stroke, a disease with severe consequences for patients and their families, often lead to psychosocial stress, and a decline in the quality of life (QoL) among carers. Predicting the QoL is essential in the development of effective nursing support interventions.
AIM: The aim of the present study was to identify predicting factors for the general QoL among spouses of stroke patients, and to determine whether these predictors change during the first year after the patient's stroke event.
DESIGN: One hundred spouses were followed three times during 1 year regarding QoL, own illness, economic situation, well being, life situation, sense of coherence, social network and the patients' ability in activities of daily living (ADL). Stepwise multiple linear regression analyses were conducted for the baseline, 6- and 12-month assessments respectively, with the present QoL as the dependent variable.
RESULTS: Over time during the first year after the patients' stroke event, there were significant differences in the spouses perceived general QoL. Life situation and economic situation were the only predictors of the spouses' QoL, which emerged during the entire year after the patient's stroke event, while well being, education, own illness, social network and ADL ability (patient) emerged at one or two occasions.
CONCLUSION: The psychosocial factors -- life situation, well being, social network, education and economy -- are important in predicting QoL among spouses of stroke patients, and these predicting factors change over time. Determining the predictors at an early stage, and continuously over time, will help to focus clinical nursing interventions on the spouses' changing needs.