caregivers, hospice, intervention



  1. Lindstrom, Kathryn B. MSN, FNP-BC, ACHPN
  2. Melnyk, Bernadette Mazurek PhD, RN, CPNP/NPP, FNAP, FAAN


The decision for hospice care in the United States is a sudden realization that life is coming to an end, which often brings heightened anxiety and depression for family caregivers. The need to involve and educate family caregivers of dying loved ones has become a common underlying theme in current literature. The purpose of this article was to provide a comprehensive literature review and critical appraisal of intervention studies with family caregivers of loved ones on hospice to provide recommendations for future research and clinical practice. A systematic search was performed in multiple databases using the MeSH terms of family caregiver, hospice care, terminal care, and palliative care, and the key word intervention. Five intervention studies were found. Sample sizes, interventions, and outcome measures varied widely, and most of the studies lacked a theoretical framework. Although these interventions provided a needed focus on family caregivers of hospice patients, the methodological flaws make it difficult to draw conclusions about the efficacy of the interventions. Therefore, theory-based and methodologically rigorous interventional research is needed to develop and test interventions that assist family caregivers of hospice patients in coping and caring for dying patients.