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Family Caregivers in Cancer: Roles and Challenges (PDQ®): Supportive care - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Interventions for Caregivers

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Few intervention studies have demonstrated efficacy in improving the quality of life of caregivers from the study entry point. Instead, most intervention studies have demonstrated efficacy in improving knowledge of and skills in caregiving. For example, interventions designed to educate caregivers about how to seek out medical information, identify psychosocial resources, or manage symptoms have helped improve caregivers' knowledge, confidence, and mood. Similarly, interventions designed to help caregivers develop problem-solving skills (e.g., coping with cancer) have demonstrated effectiveness in increasing caregiver self-efficacy in managing stress and in reducing psychological distress.[28]

In one study, the psychosocial needs of not only the caregiver but also other family members and people close to the dying patient—all defined in this study as "secondary survivors"—were examined. A qualitative assessment of the needs of the secondary survivors, which occurred after 8 weeks of group psychoeducational grief intervention, revealed a sense of powerlessness and isolation in these individuals. Also, support was identified as a need extending beyond the traditional needs associated with the care of dying patients. The authors concluded that intervention by social workers directed toward the needs of secondary survivors may be helpful.[29][Level of evidence: II]

References:

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  14. Grande GE, Todd CJ, Barclay SI, et al.: A randomized controlled trial of a hospital at home service for the terminally ill. Palliat Med 14 (5): 375-85, 2000.
  15. McCorkle R, Benoliel JQ, Donaldson G, et al.: A randomized clinical trial of home nursing care for lung cancer patients. Cancer 64 (6): 1375-82, 1989.
  16. Bee PE, Barnes P, Luker KA: A systematic review of informal caregivers' needs in providing home-based end-of-life care to people with cancer. J Clin Nurs 18 (10): 1379-93, 2009.
  17. Hodges LJ, Humphris GM, Macfarlane G: A meta-analytic investigation of the relationship between the psychological distress of cancer patients and their carers. Soc Sci Med 60 (1): 1-12, 2005.
  18. McMillan SC, Mahon M: Measuring quality of life in hospice patients using a newly developed Hospice Quality of Life Index. Qual Life Res 3 (6): 437-47, 1994.
  19. McMillan SC, Small BJ: Using the COPE intervention for family caregivers to improve symptoms of hospice homecare patients: a clinical trial. Oncol Nurs Forum 34 (2): 313-21, 2007.
  20. Meyers JL, Gray LN: The relationships between family primary caregiver characteristics and satisfaction with hospice care, quality of life, and burden. Oncol Nurs Forum 28 (1): 73-82, 2001 Jan-Feb.
  21. Haley WE: Family caregivers of elderly patients with cancer: understanding and minimizing the burden of care. J Support Oncol 1 (4 Suppl 2): 25-9, 2003 Nov-Dec.
  22. Houts PS, Nezu AM, Nezu CM, et al.: The prepared family caregiver: a problem-solving approach to family caregiver education. Patient Educ Couns 27 (1): 63-73, 1996.
  23. Naylor MD: Transitional care: a critical dimension of the home healthcare quality agenda. J Healthc Qual 28 (1): 48-54, 2006 Jan-Feb.
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  25. Kurtz ME, Kurtz JC, Given CW, et al.: A randomized, controlled trial of a patient/caregiver symptom control intervention: effects on depressive symptomatology of caregivers of cancer patients. J Pain Symptom Manage 30 (2): 112-22, 2005.
  26. Pasacreta JV, Barg F, Nuamah I, et al.: Participant characteristics before and 4 months after attendance at a family caregiver cancer education program. Cancer Nurs 23 (4): 295-303, 2000.
  27. Honea NJ, Brintnall R, Given B, et al.: Putting Evidence into Practice: nursing assessment and interventions to reduce family caregiver strain and burden. Clin J Oncol Nurs 12 (3): 507-16, 2008.
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  29. Clark PG, Brethwaite DS, Gnesdiloff S: Providing support at time of death from cancer: results of a 5-year post-bereavement group study. J Soc Work End Life Palliat Care 7 (2-3): 195-215, 2011 Apr-Sep.
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Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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