Psychosocial burden of family caregivers to adults with cancer
A person living with cancer will potentially have some degree of physical, cognitive, and/or psychological impairment, periods of unemployment, financial concerns, social isolation, and existential questions, any or all of which can impact the family and friends who surround them. In our current era of healthcare, patients with cancer receive invasive diagnostic studies and aggressive treatment as outpatients, and then convalesce at home. As such, cancer family caregivers are essential partners with the healthcare team. The intricacies of the cancer family caregiver role and responsibilities are demanding and may lead to increased morbidity and mortality—in effect, the cancer family caregiver can become a second patient in need of care. This chapter discusses the psychosocial burden of family caregivers to adults with cancer, and includes information on caregiver mood disturbance and psychological impairment and some of the mutable factors that contribute to these states (i.e., sleep disturbance, decline in physical health, and restriction of activities), uncertainty, spiritual concerns, and caregiver witnessing. There is a discussion of the factors that influence the caregiving experience (caregiver characteristics, patient characteristics, and social supports). The chapter concludes with comments on the state of caregiver research.
Williams, A. (2014)., Psychosocial burden of family caregivers to adults with cancer, in U. Goerling (ed.), Psycho-oncology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 73-85.
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