The Impact of Education on Caregiver Burden on Two Inpatient Oncology Units
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- Creedle, C., Leak, A., Deal, A.M. et al. J Canc Educ (2012) 27: 250. doi:10.1007/s13187-011-0302-3
Providing standardized education can alleviate the burden felt by the caregiver and improve health outcomes for both the patient and caregiver. Four disease groups were included in this study that represent a significantly longer hospital stay than other cancers: acute myelogenous leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, lymphoma, or those undergoing blood marrow transplant. The complexity of care is significantly higher, necessitating greater caregiver burden following hospitalization. Eligible patients and their caregivers received post-hospitalization care education through an Oncology CarePartner Program addressing the patient’s physical and emotional needs. The impact of the CarePartners program on caregiver burden was evaluated by the Oberst Caregiving Burden Scale (OCBS) and Bakas Caregiving Outcomes Scale (BCOS) on two oncology units (medical/oncology (n = 17) and blood marrow transplant (n = 21)) at three times: within 5 days of admission (T1), patient discharge from the hospital (T2), and 30 days post-discharge (T3). There were significant increases seen from T1–T2 (median = 4, p = 0.0007) and T1–T3 (median = 5.5, p = 0.003) in the BCOS. No significant changes in OCBS (time or difficulty) were seen. Standardized patient education helped improve caregivers’ overall well-being but lacked in impacting the time spent and difficulty with caregiving tasks. Educational changes to address these specific areas or evaluation by different scales are both worth further investigation.