Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Distance caregivers for advanced cancer patients have special needs, study finds

Date:
August 8, 2011
Source:
Case Western Reserve University
Summary:
Distance presents a challenge as family members work to gain information about their loved ones and participate in their cancer care. But it's also challenging to the local caregivers -- nurses, doctors and local family members -- who must adapt short-term to these remote caregivers' special needs. In hospitals across the country, such challenges have prompted distance caregivers to be labeled "seagulls" and "pigeons" -- references to family members who fly in, make a mess and fly out.

By 2012, an estimated 14 million people will serve as distance caregivers to family members who live across the state, across the region, even across the country.

"No longer are families living just around the corner from each other," says Polly Mazanec, an assistant professor at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and an advance practice oncology nurse at University Hospitals Case Medical Center's Seidman Cancer Center.

The distance presents a challenge as family members work to gain information about their loved ones and participate in their cancer care. But it's also challenging to the local caregivers -- nurses, doctors and local family members -- who must adapt short-term to these remote caregivers' special needs. In hospitals across the country, such challenges have prompted distance caregivers to be labeled "seagulls" and "pigeons" -- references to family members who fly in, make a mess and fly out.

Distance caregivers are gaining in numbers, according to Mazanec, who is lead investigator on the study, "Distance Caregiving a Parent with Advanced Cancer." In the Oncology Nursing Forum article, "Lack of Communication and Control: Experience of Distance Caregivers of Patients," she reports on the qualitative findings from the study.

Mazanec says what she and her fellow researchers found requires a change in the way information is delivered to distance caregivers. Nurses, she says, can have a role in easing some of the emotional stress experienced by distant family members.

The majority of the distance caregivers are secondary caregivers with local family members relaying patient information secondhand and often by phone, Mazanec says.

With sparse how-to information available to help these individuals, Mazanec first wanted to understand what bothered these caregivers and then develop an intervention to bring them into the loop of patient care.

The study, part of a larger look at distance caregiving, involved telephone interviews with caregivers for patients with advanced lung, gastrointestinal and gynecologic malignancies. Each interviewee lived 100 miles or more away from their family member and answered three open-ended questions that were taped and later transcribed.

Common themes were a lack of control and information, but what emerged beyond those key concerns were the following:

  • Distance caregivers struggle emotionally about the right time to visit or call their family members. Many caregivers have families with young children and possibly limited financial means to travel.
  • Uncertainty about what was happening with their family members also concerned the caregivers.
  • Even though the caregivers were highly educated and many sought information online, they still wanted more information from the health care professionals.
  • Even though parents of these caregivers were ill, they still wanted to protect their children by withholding information that sons and daughters wanted to know. Likewise the children withheld information to protect or lessen the stress of their ill parent.
  • Caregivers felt it was important to stay connected.

Mazanec says that with new technologies available, she hopes to design a program that closes the distance gap.

Collaborating on the article were: Barbara Daly, the Oliva Perkins Professor in Oncology; Maryjo Prince-Paul, assistant professor, at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing; and Betty Rolling Ferrell, research scientist at the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, Calif.

The study had funding from a National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Case Western Reserve University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Case Western Reserve University. "Distance caregivers for advanced cancer patients have special needs, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110808143008.htm>.
Case Western Reserve University. (2011, August 8). Distance caregivers for advanced cancer patients have special needs, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110808143008.htm
Case Western Reserve University. "Distance caregivers for advanced cancer patients have special needs, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110808143008.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 18, 2014) Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas hospital walked down the stairs of an executive jet into an ambulance at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday. Pham will be treated at the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) A Caribbean cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who is being monitored for signs of the Ebola virus is heading back to Texas, US, after being refused permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the deadly virus in a first round of tests, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins