Study Suggests Greater Focus on the Needs of Family Caregivers of Patients With Cancer

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Researchers found that care for family caregivers by oncology nurses is needed across all QoL domains.
Researchers found that care for family caregivers by oncology nurses is needed across all QoL domains.

A new study is suggesting that oncology nurses should discuss self-care needs with family caregivers and direct them to all available resources. Researchers at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, California, published their  findings  in The Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, which indicated that the management of patient symptoms is paramount, but there must also be a focus on family caregivers.1

The researchers conducted a study to better understand the quality-of-life needs of the family caregivers, particularly those who encounter financial strain related to patients' cancer and treatment. For this investigation, 20 family caregivers of patients with solid tumor cancers were interviewed in person or via telephone. The investigators used a quality-of-life tool, which consisted of four domains of well-being (physical, psychological, social, and spiritual).

The researchers found that care for family caregivers by oncology nurses is needed across all quality-of-life domains. They found that family caregivers may have many physical, psychological, social, and spiritual issues, and oncology nurses can acknowledge those concerns and encourage family caregivers to seek counseling.

The findings highlight the fact that cancer exacts a financial toll, and oncology nurses may need to advocate for and provide support to help address the significant financial strains and burdens that are being placed on patients and family caregivers. The authors report that nurses are key to assessing for financial strain and involving social workers or financial counselors. 

Reference

1. Ferrell BR, Kravitz K, Borneman T, Taratoot Friedmann E. Family caregivers: a qualitative study to better understand the quality-of-life concerns and needs of this population. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2018;22:286-294.

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