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Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2017 Aug;29:53-59. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2017.05.005. Epub 2017 May 30.

Strengths and resources used by Australian and Danish adult patients and their family caregivers during treatment for cancer.

Author information

Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing & Midwifery, Menzies Health Institute, Griffith University, 4131, Queensland, Australia. Electronic address:
Department of Oncology, Academy of Geriatric Cancer Research (AgeCare), Danish Knowledge Centre of Rehabilitation and Palliative Care (REHPA), Odense University Hospital, Southern Boulevard 29, DK-5000 Odense C, Denmark. Electronic address:
Department of Clinical Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark.
Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Australia.



Family plays an essential role in supporting the patient with cancer, however, relatively little attention has been given to understanding the strengths and resources of the family unit across different settings and countries. This study aims to investigate the strengths and resources of patients and family members in Australia and Denmark.


Using a descriptive, cross-sectional design, 232 patient and family participants from inpatient and outpatient oncology services in Australia and Denmark completed paper based surveys that included the Family Hardiness Index (FHI) and Family Crisis Orientated Personal Evaluation Scales (F-COPES), together with demographic and health information.


The family's appraisal of the cancer and ways the family worked together predicted the level of external resources used to manage their circumstances.


After a cancer diagnosis patients and family respond in different ways related to their family functioning. There is a need for nurses to work closely with the family to understand their strengths and resources, and tailor support and information for family to promote optimal patient outcomes.


Adult oncology; Family; Family resources; Family strengths; Nursing; Support; Survival

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