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Lookup NU author(s): Professor Linda Sharp
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Aims and objectivesTo examine the unmet supportive care needs of long-term head and neck cancer caregivers, and the factors associated with those needs.BackgroundResearch on the unmet needs of head and neck cancer caregivers is lacking, particularly in the long-term survivorship period.DesignSurvey of 197 caregivers.MethodsThe study collected information on caregivers' demographic characteristics and their unmet supportive care needs (as measured by the Partners and Caregivers Supportive Care Needs Survey). An overall score of unmet need was generated, as were scores for four separate domains of unmet needs (emotional, health, information and work/social).ResultsSeventy six percentage of respondents were female, and 88% reported being married or living with a partner. Mean age was 57years. Most caregivers had low levels of unmet needs. Managing fears about the cancer recurring was the most commonly reported individual need, described by slightly more than one in five respondents. The highest levels of need were located in the emotional and the health services domains. Loneliness and financial stress were consistently and significantly associated with high levels of unmet need in the multivariable analysis.ConclusionsMost head and neck cancer caregivers appear to have low levels of unmet need in the extended survivorship period. The greatest levels of unmet need that are experienced occur in relation to emotional and health service domains. Needs diminish over time.Relevance to clinical practiceHealth professionals should be aware that a minority of long-term head and neck caregivers continue to experience strong fears of cancer recurrence. To reduce unmet needs across multiple domains, health professionals should seek to reduce caregivers' feelings of loneliness, and to assist caregivers to reduce the financial burdens that they experience as a result of long-term caring.
Author(s): Balfe M, O'Brien K, Timmons A, Butow P, Sullivan EO, Gooberman-Hill R, Sharp L
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Journal of Clinical Nursing
Print publication date: 01/06/2016
Online publication date: 03/05/2016
Acceptance date: 05/11/2015
ISSN (print): 0962-1067
ISSN (electronic): 1365-2702
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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