Information Needs of Wives of Men Following Prostatectomy

Tina M. Mason

ONF 2005, 32(3), 557-563. DOI: 10.1188/05.ONF.557-563

Purpose/Objectives: To identify and evaluate the information needs of wives of men diagnosed with prostate cancer who were treated first with radical prostatectomy and to measure the extent to which their needs were met.

Design: Descriptive.

Setting: Comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute.

Sample: 66 wives of men with prostate cancer.

Methods: On the second day after their husbands underwent prostatectomies, the wives of men with prostate cancer completed the Family Inventory of Needs-Wives and a demographic data form.

Main Research Variables: Information needs and the perceived degree to which they were met.

Findings: All needs were identified as important but were met to varying degrees. Five items were not rated "unmet" by any respondents, whereas four items were considered unmet by at least 30% of respondents. Evidence suggests that the age of the wife influences the percentage of unmet needs, with older wives having more unmet needs. P values for the relationship between needs and the age of the wife, her educational level, and the time between diagnosis and treatment were less than 0.05.

Conclusions: Illness prompts a wife's need for information, which supports findings of earlier research.

Implications for Nursing: Wives have a wide range of information needs. Assessing education needs and the degree to which they are met can guide nurses in restructuring education. Support and guidance regarding more difficult issues, such as fatigue and sexual activity, can decrease barriers to communication. Using a multimodality approach to education, constantly reassessing needs, and encouraging questions are imperative.

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