Distressed family caregivers of lung cancer patients: an examination of psychosocial and practical challenges
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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.
Single, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 21 distressed family caregivers of lung cancer patients.
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.
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.
KeywordsFamily caregiver Lung cancer Psychological distress Health Quality of life
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