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Cancer Nurs. 2001 Aug;24(4):300-7.

Home caregivers of the person with advanced cancer: an Australian perspective.

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  • 1University of Melbourne and the Centre for Palliative Care, Caritas Christi Hospice, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia.


Australian palliative care services are predominantly community based, with an emphasis on enabling the person to live at home for as long as possible. Home care of the person with advanced cancer receiving palliative care in the community depends largely on the availability of a family caregiver. Family caregivers are required to assess, monitor, and deliver complex therapeutic interventions such as pain and symptom control, including the administration and adjustment of complex medication regimens. This article reports a study of 42 family caregivers providing home care to persons with advanced cancer. This study sought to describe a number of caregiver variables that may influence reactions to caring roles and caregiver well-being. The study found that family caregivers are significantly involved in symptom management, and that they take on almost total responsibility for routine household tasks. In addition, the caregiver role has a negative impact on caregiver health, schedule, anxiety, and energy. However, caregivers find significant meaning in their role and feel relatively well prepared for caregiving. The results of this study support the applicability of the vast international literature on caregiver issues for the Australian setting and suggest the need to move toward development of caregiver-focused nursing interventions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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