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Caregiver Characteristics Associated With Cognitive Complaints in Women With Breast Cancer

Yesol Yang
Victoria Poillucci
Deborah “Hutch” Allen
Wei Pan
Eleanor McConnell
Cristina C. Hendrix
ONF 2021, 48(4), 453-464 DOI: 10.1188/21.ONF.453-464

Objectives: To explore whether caregiver characteristics were associated with cognitive complaints reported by women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy.

Sample & Setting: 61 dyads of women with breast cancer and their caregivers were recruited at Duke Women’s Cancer Care Raleigh in North Carolina.

Methods & Variables: An exploratory, cross-sectional design was used. Data were obtained on patients and caregivers. Patient cognitive complaints were represented by cognitive impairment (CI) and cognitive ability (CA).

Results: Two significant associations were found: between patient CI and caregiver mental health, general health, and burden; and between patient CA and caregiver self-confidence and burden. Caregiver burden, which showed correlations with both patient CI and CA, was found to influence patient CA. Also, patient depression played a mediator role in the association between caregiver general health and patient CI.

Implications for Nursing: Healthcare providers should consider caregivers when assessing and managing patients’ cognitive symptoms. This study suggests the value of including caregivers when establishing interventions for patients who have cognitive complaints.

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