The impact of cancer and chronic conditions on caregivers and family members

Sylvie D Lambert, Janelle V. Levesque, Afaf Girgis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Caregiving by a family member or a friend is critical in maintaining and improving the health and well-being of individuals living with cancer, and in reducing demands on the health care system. The increased prevalence of cancer and co-morbidities is applying pressure on already stretched cancer care resources and high-quality cancer care now relies on caregivers taking on more and more complex illness management roles (once performed by health care professionals). Caregivers provide about 70-80 % of patients’ cancer care, the economic value of which is estimated to be at least in the millions. Although caregiving is a valued societal and financial resource, caregivers remain largely a hidden workforce. Caregivers often take on their roles and responsibilities with little to no formal training, leading to high levels of burden and lower quality of life for both the caregivers and the person they are caring for. Cancer caregivers are a particularly vulnerable sub-group, as they report higher burden than caregivers for individuals with diabetes or frail elders. Although across caregiver studies it might be assumed that many of the patients cared for have co-morbidities, this information is not always explicit and there are no studies specifically examining the burden endured by caregivers of patients with cancer and co-morbidities. Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to summarize what is known about cancer caregiving and note how these findings might be extrapolated to begin to understand the issues faced by caregivers of patients with cancer and co-morbidities. The chapter provides an overview of caregivers’ roles in cancer care and the impact of this involvement on caregivers’ health and functioning; their patterns of health care services utilization; a description of the type of support caregivers require more of (unmet needs); and the effectiveness of interventions that can support caregivers throughout the cancer trajectory. A discussion of future directions for research and practice concludes this chapter.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCancer and Chronic Conditions: Addressing the Problem of Multimorbidity in Cancer Patients and Survivors
PublisherSpringer-Verlag London Ltd.
Pages159-202
Number of pages44
ISBN (Electronic)9789811018442
ISBN (Print)9789811018435
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Caregiver
  • Family members
  • Psychosocial interventions
  • Quality of life

Cite this

Lambert, S. D., Levesque, J. V., & Girgis, A. (2016). The impact of cancer and chronic conditions on caregivers and family members. In Cancer and Chronic Conditions: Addressing the Problem of Multimorbidity in Cancer Patients and Survivors (pp. 159-202). Springer-Verlag London Ltd.. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-1844-2_6