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Cancer Nurs. 1989 Aug;12(4):216-25.

A description of the needs of noninstitutionalized cancer patients and their primary care givers.


The purpose of this descriptive study was twofold: to identify the needs of the noninstitutionalized patient with cancer as defined by patients, primary care givers, and nurses, and to identify the needs of the primary care giver as defined by the same three groups of subjects. Each subject completed two forms of the Objects Content Test, an open-ended questionnaire on which subjects were asked to list the needs of patients and care givers. Content analysis was applied to the two sets of data to formulate categories of need responses; each set of data with category labels and definitions was submitted for q-sort by two successive groups of nurse experts to establish the validity of need item responses in categories. Findings revealed that patient needs were represented by six categories and caregivers' needs by seven categories. For both sets of data, the largest number of needs were in the psychological needs category. For patients, physical needs and information needs were the next largest categories; for care givers, the categories of household management needs (which encompassed patient care) and information needs were the second and third largest. Some disparity between perceived needs as generated by the three groups of subjects was noted. Further research utilizing quantitative methods is needed to determine whether suggested trends (such as nurse subjects' emphasis on informational needs for care givers and patients' infrequent listing of informational needs for themselves) have validity.

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