Lack of Training Associated With Cancer Patient Caregiver Burden

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Skills training for caregivers of cancer patients is a potential intervention area.
Skills training for caregivers of cancer patients is a potential intervention area.

(HealthDay News) -- For caregivers providing care to cancer patients, lack of training is associated with increasing burden, according to a study published online July 20 in Cancer.

Michelle A. Mollica, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues administered a questionnaire to caregivers identified by cancer patients in the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance consortium to assess the care they provided, type of medical/nursing skills training received, burden, and confidence in caring for their patient's physical needs.

The researchers found that 59 percent of the 641 caregivers who performed some type of medical/nursing task reported that they did not receive training for all the care provided. Caregivers reported a moderate level of burden; lack of receiving training correlated with increased levels of burden. The correlation between training and burden was partially mediated by confidence.

"As the number of cancer patients and caregivers increases, understanding how best to reduce the caregiver burden is necessary. Skills training is a potential area for interventions, but research on how best to provide training for caregivers (i.e., the content, mode of delivery, and timing) is needed," the authors write.

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