Contents: Caregiving remains the crux of management in terminal diseases, but little attention is given to the effects of terminal illnesses on the caregivers and the associated anticipatory grief that aggravates caregivers' burden.
Aim: This study assesses the correlations between burden and anticipatory grief experienced among caregivers of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Calabar Municipality, Cross River State, Nigeria.
Methods: Correlations and descriptive cross-sessional design were utilized to assess and purposefully recruit 231 eligible caregivers of PLWHA, respectively. Validated revised Zarit Burden Interview scale (ZBI) and Anticipatory Grief Scale were the primary data collection instruments. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 21.0.
Results: Study findings revealed that the highest percentage, 36.4% (84) participants experienced a moderate burden, while 22.1% (51) experienced a severe burden. Similarly, the highest percentage, 33.3% (77) of the participants experienced moderate anticipatory grief at the range of 57-76, while 30.7% (71) participants experienced severe anticipatory grief within 77- 135. Positive and significant correlations (r = 0.61, P < 0.05; r = 0.53, P < 0.05; r = 0.66, P < 0.05) were obtained for the relationship between no anticipatory grief/burden; mild anticipatory grief/ burden and severe anticipatory grief/ burden respectively) during the study. These positive correlations revealed a strong synergy between the two variables, caregiver’s burden and anticipatory grief.
Conclusion: As sub-Saharan African disproportionately bears the burden of HIV, more persons will have to take up family caregivers' roles despite the high level of burden and associated anticipatory grief. The need for educational intervention backed by the policy cannot be over-emphasized and should be implemented to enhance and acquaint caregivers on the nature of anticipatory grief and its connection with a terminal disease like HIV/AIDS.