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Indian J Palliat Care. 2019 Apr-Jun;25(2):228-231. doi: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_159_18.

Assessment of Caregivers' Strain during Radiation Therapy of Head-and-Neck Cancer Patients: An Institutional Report using Modified Caregivers' Strain Index Scale.

Author information

1
Department of Radiation Oncology, Medica Cancer Hospital, Siliguri, West Bengal, India.
2
Department of Medical Oncology, Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

Abstract

Aims:

Very little works have been reported on the issues of burden perceived by the caregivers of head-and-neck cancer (HNC) patients. Job of the caregiver is complex, and it limits their social, psychological, and economical well-being. Our study aims at assessing caregivers' strain during radiation therapy (RT) of HNC patients using the Modified Caregivers' Strain Index (MCSI) Scale.

Materials and Methods:

In this single-institutional cross-sectional study, we interviewed caregivers of HNC patients undergoing curative RT. Along with MCSI, a 13-point questionnaire, which was self-administered in local languages; we collected baseline data of patients and their caregivers. Scores were evaluated. For each question, score varies 0-2. Higher the Median Hazard Score (H Score), more was the level of the strain.

Results:

We interviewed 24 participants. Response rate was 100%. About 45.8% of patients were in Stage III. The median age of caregivers was 40 years; 58.3% were male, 79.2% were employed, and 58.3% were belonging to the upper-lower class. Nearly 66.6% were spouse of the patients and 70.8% belong to joint family. In MCSI score analysis, H Score was 22 (range 14) with a minimum score of 14 and maximum score of 26. The most common score was 20. About 65.1% of participants responded Score 2 in all aspects of strain indices. Travel time had a significant positive association with total H Scores (Pearson's r = 0.663, P < 0.05).

Conclusion:

Majority of the caregivers was suffering from severe physical, personal, emotional, and social/financial strain. This issue must be addressed in holistic cancer care.

KEYWORDS:

Caregiver; head-and-neck cancer; strain

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