, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 149–158 | Cite as

Patients with cancer and family caregivers: management of symptoms caused by cancer or cancer therapy at home

  • Daniela Maria Hazelwood
  • Sabine Koeck
  • Martin Wallner
  • Kathryn Hoehn Anderson
  • Hanna Mayer


People are diagnosed with cancer sooner nowadays thanks to increased awareness and improvements in cancer screenings. Patients are able to live longer due to cancer treatment regimens; however, they suffer the consequences of living with cancer and therapy-related symptoms. Symptom management is challenging for both patients and family caregivers. Therefore, family members must be integrated in the patient’s care plan. For this review, a literature search was conducted to determine what types of interventions were available that involved family members of cancer patients with the management of cancer and therapy-related symptoms. The following interventions were found that were designed for the family caregivers or both the patient and caregiver to aide with symptom management: pain intervention program, massage therapy, telephone intervention, self-efficacy improvement, coping enhancement and a multidimensional intervention. A positive effect was noted in all the studies, but several had no significance in the patient intervention group but did in the caregiver intervention group. However, studies indicated decreased symptom intensity for various symptoms, decreased symptom distress for both the patient and caregiver, increased self-efficacy of the family member, and increased satisfaction with certain interventions. Further research should be conducted on both existing interventions to better determine their effect and on family symptom management of cancer patients as they need support from healthcare professionals as well.


Cancer Family Caregiver Symptom management Intervention Nursing 


Aufgrund der Verbesserungen in der medizinischen Diagnostik und Fortschritten in der Krebstherapie werden Krebserkrankungen heute früher erkannt und die Lebenserwartung der Betroffenen erhöht. Unverändert bleibt der schwierige Umgang mit krankheits- und therapiebedingten Symptomen. Deren Bewältigung stellt sowohl für die Betroffenen als auch für ihre (pflegenden) Angehörigen eine besondere Herausforderung dar. Aus diesem Grund müssen auch Familienmitglieder in die Betreuung der Krebspatientinnen und -patienten mit einbezogen werden. Im Rahmen der vorliegenden Studie wurde ein systematisches Literatur-Review durchgeführt, um einen Überblick zu bestehenden Interventionen zu erhalten, welche Familienmitglieder in das Management von krebs- und therapieinduzierten Symptomen einbinden. Folgende Interventionen konnten identifiziert werden: Schmerzinterventionsprogramme, Massagetherapie, telefongestützte Interventionen, Interventionen zur Verbesserung der Selbstwirksamkeit, Interventionen zur Verbesserung der Krankheitsbewältigung sowie eine multidimensionale Intervention. In allen untersuchten Studien konnten bei Patienten und Patientinnen und/oder deren Angehörigen positive Effekte auf das Symptomerleben bzw. deren Bewältigung durch die jeweils durchgeführten Interventionen nachgewiesen werden. Um die Wirksamkeit bestehender Interventionen und die Einbindung von Familienmitgliedern in das Symptommanagement untersuchen zu können, sind weitere Forschungsarbeiten notwendig.


Krebs Familie Angehörige Symptom Management Interventionen Pflege 



Ms. Hazelwood’s work on this project was supported by “Training in Chronic Illness Research in Georgia and Abroad,” from the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health, Dr. K. Anderson, PI. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniela Maria Hazelwood
    • 1
  • Sabine Koeck
    • 2
  • Martin Wallner
    • 2
  • Kathryn Hoehn Anderson
    • 1
  • Hanna Mayer
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Nursing Georgia Southern UniversityStatesboroUSA
  2. 2.Department of Nursing ScienceUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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