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The informational needs, satisfaction with communication, and psychological status of primary caregivers of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy

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The first objective of the study was to identify the specific informational needs of primary caregivers of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy in a Greek outpatient setting and to assess their preference for cancer-specific booklets, their levels of satisfaction with communication and their psychological status. The second objective was to examine whether their need for information was associated with their preference for written information, level of satisfaction, and levels of psychological distress. The final objective was to search for possible associations between satisfaction and psychological distress. Seventy-eight caregivers participated in the study and data were collected by structured individual interviews. The main findings to emerge were that a significant proportion of the caregivers had elevated needs for information, which were positively associated with a preference for cancer-specific printed material and negatively associated with satisfaction with the doctor's communication of information and affective behavior. Participants experienced heightened levels of anxiety and depression, which were independent of the need for information, preference for printed material or satisfaction with communication. The results suggest that the Greek cancer caregiver needs more factual information relevant to the patient's condition and that communication of information is critical if he or she is to be satisfied. The Greek oncologist should therefore not only try to detect the informational needs, but should also be qualified to meet them in the best possible way. In addition, the rates of anxiety and depression observed highlight the need for a more thorough evaluation and management of caregivers' psychological morbidity in the Greek oncology setting.

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Iconomou, G., Vagenakis, A.G. & Kalofonos, H.P. The informational needs, satisfaction with communication, and psychological status of primary caregivers of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Support Care Cancer 9, 591–596 (2001).

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