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Caregiver Burden and Symptom Distress in People With Cancer Receiving Hospice Care

Stephanie Andrews
ONF 2001, 1469-1474 DOI:

Purpose/Objectives: To examine the relationship between caregiver burden and symptom distress in patients with terminal cancer who are enrolled in hospice.

Design: Descriptive, quantitative.

Setting: A large, metropolitan, nonprofit-based organization in west central Florida.

Sample: Convenience sample of 30 patient-caregiver dyads enrolled in hospice.

Methods: Caregivers completed the Caregiver Reaction Scale to measure the level of caregiver burden; patients completed the Adopted Symptom Distress Scale. Results were correlated using a Pearson correlation.

Main Research Variables: Symptom distress and caregiver burden.

Findings: The patient sample exhibited low symptom distress, and the caregiver sample exhibited moderate caregiver burden. A statistically significant moderate correlation existed between symptom distress and caregiver burden.

Conclusions: The significant moderate correlation confirms the idea that caregiver burden and patient symptom distress are related. Future studies are needed to obtain a more representative sample of caregivers of patients closer to death, even if those patients are nonresponsive.

Implications for Nursing Practice: This information can assist hospice nurses in assessing and formulating targeted care for symptom distress and caregiver burden in their patients.

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