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Effect of Caregiver Perception of Preparedness on Burden in an Oncology Population

Mary Scherbring
ONF 2002, 29(6), E70-E76 DOI: 10.1188/02.ONF.E70-E76

Purpose/Objectives: To identify the level of lay caregiver burden and perception of preparedness that exists for the oncology population prior to and just after hospital discharge.

Design: Descriptive, correlational design using repeated measures.

Setting: Large, tertiary care, private medical center in the midwestern United States.

Sample: 59 lay caregivers of patients with cancer who were discharged from inpatient hospital status.

Methods: Caregivers completed Robinson's Caregiver Strain Index and Archbold's Preparedness Scale questionnaires immediately prior to discharge, 7-10 days postdis-charge, and 28-30 days postdischarge.

Main Research Variables: Caregivers' perception of preparedness and burden.

Findings: Preparedness levels ranged from "somewhat" to "pretty well" prepared and were consistent over time. Burden levels were moderate and also consistent over time. Increased levels of preparedness were associated with decreased levels of burden, and that relationship was consistent over time.

Conclusions: Caregivers' levels of preparedness can be enhanced, although no significant differences were reported in the period from prehospital discharge to one month following discharge. Burden experiences of caregivers are real and not affected by the transition from hospital to home. Burden experiences can be influenced by perceptions of preparedness.

Implications for Nursing: Efforts to enhance the preparedness of lay caregivers can influence their burden experience.

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