Unmet Needs of Informal Cancer Caregivers: A Mixed-Methods Approach to Identify Needs
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Problem under investigation: Many cancer caregivers often have a number of unmet needs that leads to distress, burden, and poor patient outcomes. Objective: Identify unmet needs of informal cancer caregivers at Roswell Park, provide a compendium of local community resources, and recommend additional resources that other cancer centers in the nation utilize. Background literature and theoretical framework: In the United States there are more than 14.5 million cancer survivors. Cancer caregivers lack the knowledge, support, and self confidence to properly care for their loved ones. The theory of Caregiver Stress states that inputs, which are defined as internal and external factors, are associated with unmet needs and burden. Inputs have a direct impact on outcomes. Project methods: Mixed-methods approach to data collection using the Caregiver Self- Assessment Questionnaire and focus groups. Email interviews were conducted with oncology experts at cancer centers around the nation. Results: Informal caregivers at Roswell Park expressed feelings of unmet needs and caregiver burden. Oncology experts at various cancer centers in the nation are concerned that caregivers at their institutes are not properly managed; however, a significant number of online and local resources for caregivers were identified but are likely not being utilized to the full potential. Potential significance: Enhance the caregiver role through knowledge of resources to minimize unmet needs and burden. Implications: Informing caregivers and healthcare providers of the resources available to them will help minimize unmet needs and lessen the degree of burden that will improve outcomes.