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Article

Multidimensional Needs of Caregivers for Patients With Cancer

Karen A. Skalla
Ellen M. Lavoie Smith
Zhongze Li
Charlene Gates
CJON 2013, 17(5), 500-506 DOI: 10.1188/13.CJON.17-05AP

This pilot study describes the multidimensional (physical, psychological, social, and spiritual) needs of caregivers of cancer survivors. A regional comprehensive cancer center and nine community-based rural and urban cancer clinics in New Hampshire assembled a convenience sample. Patients with cancer completed an online survey, the cancer survivor Web-based needs assessment survey (CS-WEBS), to identify needs and desire for intervention. Patients then identified a caregiver who was recruited to complete a caregiver version of the CS-WEBS. Caregivers reported challenges within all four domains of the survivorship model. The highest reported physical symptoms were fatigue, insomnia, and weight gain. Social symptoms included financial issues. Although visiting nurse services were the most commonly used resource, many caregivers used no supportive services. The most common caregiver task was listening and talking. Caregivers frequently experienced fatigue, anxiety, and insomnia. Exploring effective ways to alleviate their symptom burden should be a priority. Local and national attention should be directed toward easing the financial burden of caring for a patient with cancer.

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