Faculty Publications


Chronic renal failure: Assessing the Fatigue Severity Scale for use among caregivers

Document Type



Burden, Caregiver, Chronic renal failure, End-stage renal disease, Fatigue

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Clinical Nursing





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Background. Quality of life for caregivers of end-stage renal disease patients has not been well addressed yet the physical and psychological status of this overlooked group can be important in the recovery or adaptation of patients with chronic renal failure, not to mention the caregivers themselves. One particular feature of the overall quality of life of such caregivers is that of fatigue. Aims and objectives. The purpose of the study was to test the Fatigue Severity Scale for potential usefulness in assessing fatigue among a non-medical population, caregivers of end-stage renal disease patients. Methods. Subjects completed a short battery of measures at either a dialysis centre or at home. Results. The Short Form-12 of the Short Form-36 and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale accounted for 56% of the variance on the Fatigue Severity Scale. The results suggest that physical fatigue may be more prominent than mental fatigue as a feature of caregiver quality of life. Conclusions. The Fatigue Severity Scale which has been used for multiple sclerosis patients may prove to be useful as a short assessment of fatigue among the non-medical population of end-stage renal disease caregivers. This may result in improved interventions for the population of caregivers. Relevance to clinical practice. Physicians, nurses and allied health professionals will be called on more frequently to assess and intervene with fatigued and overburdened caregivers in addition to patients themselves. A more thorough understanding of the nature of caregiver fatigue may drive changes or innovations with caregivers who are too often overlooked in the current era of scarce resources. Accordingly results of the study suggest that the direction in intervention may focus more on rest and respite as opposed to a need for psychosocial support or counselling. While there are various modes for assessing end-stage renal disease caregivers' fatigue, a simple measure like the Fatigue Severity Scale is brief enough to be administered without undue demand on practitioners or caregivers.

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