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Research project: I'm just in the shadow to keep an eye - an investigation to understand need for support in family members of people having chemotherapy - Dormant - Dormant

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Chemotherapy is generally administered to patients in day care. Consequently, treatment side effects arise once patients return home. Family members provide considerable emotional support to patients undergoing chemotherapy and frequently help to monitor and manage treatment side effects.

Overview

Family members receive little preparation or support from health care professionals to enable them to undertake this informal care giving role or to adapt to the changes in lifestyle and family relationships that may arise. Unfortunately, whilst researchers have explored patients’ experiences and needs whilst undergoing chemotherapy, they have tended to neglect those of family members. Consequently, health professionals have little evidence on which to draw to develop chemotherapy services to respond to the needs of carers.  Not surprisingly supporting family caregivers was a top priority identified in the Macmillan Listening study.

Chemotherapy is generally administered to patients in day care. Consequently, treatment side effects arise once patients return home. Family members provide considerable emotional support to patients undergoing chemotherapy and frequently help to monitor and manage treatment side effects. Family members receive little preparation or support from health care professionals to enable them to undertake this informal care giving role or to adapt to the changes in lifestyle and family relationships that may arise. Unfortunately, whilst researchers have explored patients’ experiences and needs whilst undergoing chemotherapy, they have tended to neglect those of family members. Consequently, health professionals have little evidence on which to draw to develop chemotherapy services to respond to the needs of carers.

There is a growing recognition that family carers have unmet needs that impact on their experience of supporting, and ability to support, a family member through chemotherapy. As more treatment is delivered within day care it is imperative this gap in current knowledge is addressed. Not surprisingly supporting family caregivers was a top priority identified in the Macmillan Listening study.

The proposed research aims to:

  • Elaborate on and clarify experiences of family members supporting relatives through a course of chemotherapy
  • Conceptualise their need for information and support across the course of chemotherapy
  • Understand factors that impact on perceived confidence to support the patient
  • Identify potentially feasible and acceptable interventions for family members to be tested in future

Project team

Professor Alison Richardson, Rebecca Foster

External
Professor Emma Ream, King’s College London, Mrs Ginny Fuller, Mrs Gwen Harlow, Dr Theresa Wiseman and Ms Catherine Oakley

Project funder

Macmillan Cancer Support

Associated research themes

Informal caregivers
Families
Chemotherapy
Cancer
Supportive care

Related research groups

Complex Healthcare Processes

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