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Journal Club

Caring for the Caregiver

Geline Joy Tamayo
Anita Broxson
Mark Munsell
Marlene Z. Cohen
ONF 2010, 37(1), E50-E57 DOI: 10.1188/10.ONF.E50-E57

Purpose/Objectives: To describe the quality of life (QOL) and well-being of caregivers of patients receiving outpatient chemotherapy for leukemia and to identify strategies to promote the best possible QOL and well-being for the caregivers.

Design: Descriptive, cross-sectional study.

Setting: Ambulatory treatment center of a major comprehensive cancer center in the southern United States.

Sample: Convenience sample of 194 caregivers of patients receiving chemotherapy for leukemia.

Methods: Participants completed the Caregiver Quality-of-Life-Cancer Scale, the Caregiver Well-Being Scale, and the Learning Needs Questionnaire developed by the authors. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the demographic characteristics of the caregivers, and exploratory factor analysis was performed to identify meaningful factors.

Main Research Variables: QOL, well-being, and learning needs.

Findings: Caregivers identified burden as their most important concern for QOL. Key factors identified with caregivers' well-being were expression of feelings and household maintenance. Caregivers identified giving medications and managing the side effects as crucial to learning needs. Communication, positive attitudes, support, and education were important in promoting QOL for the caregivers.

Conclusions: Caregiving for a patient receiving chemotherapy for leukemia influences the QOL and well-being of the caregiver.

Implications for Nursing: This study highlights the need for better nurse-caregiver communication and education, particularly in the areas of symptom management and medication administration. Additional research should focus on factors that affect caregivers' QOL, their educational needs, and improved interventions for delivering new information or reinforcing old information.

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