Published: 12 October 2021

Authors: Eleanor C. Majellano,Vanessa L. Clark,Peter G. Gibson,Juliet M. Foster,Vanessa M. McDonald

Source: This abstract has been sourced from NZ Respiratory Research Review Issue 198


    Background and objective

    Caring for people with severe asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can impair the quality of life (QoL) of the carer. We aimed to describe the QoL and needs of severe asthma and COPD carers.


    Carers of severe asthma (n = 89) and COPD (n = 48) completed an online cross-sectional survey assessing QoL and carer support needs using the Short Form Health Survey 12v2 (SF-12), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Carers Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT) questionnaires.


    Carers of people with severe asthma and COPD were similar in age (mean ± SD 57.78 ± 14.09 vs. 56.93 ± 12.91) and gender (65% female vs. 66%); however, they differed in caring duration (proportion caring for >10 years: 65% vs. 33%, p < 0.002). QoL was impaired in both groups, but there were no significant differences between severe asthma and COPD carers in either of the SF-12 component scores. The HADS scores revealed no difference between groups. Compared to severe asthma carers, COPD carers had significantly greater needs for: ‘having time for self’ (33% vs. 13%, p = 0.006), ‘equipment to help care for relative’ (33% vs. 13%, p = 0.006), ‘practical help in the home’ (35% vs. 18%, p = 0.006) and ‘getting a break from caring overnight’ (21% vs. 6%, p = 0.023).


    QoL is impaired in carers of people with severe asthma to a similar degree of COPD carers and other debilitating diseases like cancer. These novel data highlight the support needs of severe asthma carers and identifies areas where tailored support is needed to reduce their substantial carer burden.

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