Unmet needs of family cancer caregivers predict quality of life in long-term cancer survivorship

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: To identify demographic and caregiving characteristics associated with caregivers’ unmet needs and to examine associations of caregivers’ unmet needs with their quality of life at 2 years and 5 years since their patients’ initial diagnosis. Methods: Family cancer caregivers completed prospective longitudinal surveys at 2 years (T1) and 5 years (T2) post diagnosis. Demographic and caregiving characteristics were measured at T1. Unmet needs and quality of life were measured at T1 and T2. Results: Younger and spousal caregivers reported greater unmet needs (B > 2.03, p <.05). Independent of demographic characteristics, caregivers’ perception that providing care to their relative with cancer was overwhelming was consistently associated with unfulfillment of their needs in various domains, concurrently and prospectively (B > 2.50, p <.05), across the long-term survivorship phases. Conclusions: Findings highlight the contribution of earlier subjective caregiving stress to family caregivers’ needs not being met both currently and years later, which, in turn, related to poorer quality of life across different family caregivership trajectories. Findings suggest identifying at-risk subgroups of family caregivers based on demographics and assessing caregiving stress as a priority in psycho-oncology research and clinical practices. Implications for Cancer Survivors: Family caregivers’ quality of life is affected by cancer survivors’ illness trajectory many years after the initial cancer diagnosis, so are the caregivers’ needs. Cancer survivorship care plan should take careful consideration of the nuanced long-term contributions of caregivers’ unmet needs to their specific aspects of quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Bereavement
  • Caregivers
  • Long-term cancer care
  • Long-term survivorship trajectory
  • Quality of life
  • Unmet needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)

Cite this