Hematopoietic cell transplant patients are among the most vulnerable and acutely ill cancer populations (Bevans, Mitchell, & Marden, 2008). The responsibility of caring for the daily physical and psychosocial needs of these patients after transplant is placed mostly on family caregivers(Williams, 2007). The purpose of this descriptive correlational research study was to describe caregiving experiences of 56 caregivers of HCT patients 3–12 months following transplant.
Methods & Sample
Patients and caregivers were recruited from two west coast regional transplant programs in the United States. Variables studied were: relationship quality, rewards of caregiving, predictability, role strain, patient function, caregiving activities, and caregiver quality of life (QOL).
Results indicated that all areas of role strain are significantly negatively correlated with caregiver's QOL. Predictability was negatively associated with problem solving and emotional strain indicating that as the level of predictability of the situation decreases, caregiver strain and problem solving increase. Predictability was positively correlated to caregiver QOL indicating that as the situation is more predictable caregiver QOL increases. Emotional strain, problem-solving strain, and usual care strain were significantly positively related, indicating that emotional strain and problem solving strain increased together. As usual care strain increased, so did problem-solving strain and emotional strain.
Suggestions for interventions include assessing and responding to caregiver issues such as emotional strain, problem-solving strain, usual care strain, unpredictability, and QOL. Examples of caregiver-focused interventions include providing timely appropriate information about these caregiver concerns including elements that make the caregiving situation predictable, and incorporating best practices for preventing and minimizing