Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 431–437

Distressed family caregivers of lung cancer patients: an examination of psychosocial and practical challenges

  • Catherine E. Mosher
  • Heather A. Jaynes
  • Nasser Hanna
  • Jamie S. Ostroff
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

Lung cancer and its treatment impose many demands on family caregivers, which may increase their risk for distress. However, little research has documented aspects of the caregiving experience that are especially challenging for distressed caregivers of lung cancer patients. This study aimed to explore caregivers’ key challenges in coping with their family member’s lung cancer.

Methods

Single, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 21 distressed family caregivers of lung cancer patients.

Results

Caregivers described three key challenges in coping with their family member’s lung cancer. The most common challenge, identified by 38 % of caregivers, was a profound sense of uncertainty regarding the future as they attempted to understand the patient’s prognosis and potential for functional decline. Another key challenge, identified by 33 % of caregivers, involved time-consuming efforts to manage the patient’s emotional reactions to the illness. Other caregivers (14 %) characterized practical tasks, such as coordinating the patient’s medical care, as their greatest challenge.

Conclusions

Results suggest that clinical efforts are needed to assist distressed caregivers in providing practical and emotional support to the patient and attending to their own emotional needs.

Keywords

Family caregiver Lung cancer Psychological distress Health Quality of life 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine E. Mosher
    • 1
    • 2
  • Heather A. Jaynes
    • 3
  • Nasser Hanna
    • 4
  • Jamie S. Ostroff
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyIndiana University–Purdue University IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pharmacy PracticePurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  4. 4.Department of MedicineIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA

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