Caring a Patient in a Vegetative State: Increasing Well-being by Using Different Coping Strategies
AbstractBackground: Family caregivers of patients in a vegetative state (VS) can experience high levels of distress and difficulty in facing grief. Our aim was to explore how the health status of VS caregivers changed in relation to the different coping strategies they used. Methods: The Anxiety and Depression Short Scale, the Prolonged Grief 12, Family Strain Questionnaire, and the Coping Orientations to Problem Experiences were used with 61 caregivers of VS patients hospitalized in specialized units in Italy. A hierarchical cluster analysis was carried out to group the data. Findings: Two groups of caregivers were found. The first group was characterized by lower levels of anxiety, depression, family strain, and prolonged grief. The main coping strategies used by this group were Social Support, Positive Attitude, and Problem Oriented. The second group showed higher levels of anxiety, depression, family strain, and prolonged grief, and used the Avoidance strategy more than the first group. Discussion: The health status of family caregivers of VS patients changes according to the different coping strategies adopted. Helping these caregivers to adopt more effective coping strategies may increase their well-being.