Distance Caregivers Face Lack of Communication, Control

Geographical distance adds unique stressors to distance caregivers of patients with cancer

MONDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Lack of communication and control are the major issues that distance caregivers of patients with advance cancer experience, according to a study published in the May issue of the Oncology Nursing Forum.

Polly Mazanec, Ph.D., from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and colleagues investigated distance caregiving in the advanced cancer population via telephone interviews with 14 distance caregiving adult children of patients with advanced lung, gastrointestinal, or gynecologic cancer. The tape-recorded interviews were guided by responses to three open-ended questions, and then analyzed for content and inductive coding.

The investigators found that lack of communication and control were the major issues of concern for distance caregivers. There were also five subthemes that emerged from the data: benefits and burdens of distance caregiving, dealing with uncertainty, direct action through information seeking, protecting, and staying connected.

"Distance caregivers experience some of the same fears and concerns as local caregivers but have additional issues related to the geographic distance that increase burden. Interventions that address the loss of control and the communication issues associated with distance caregiving have the potential to provide opportunities for growth while minimizing burden," the authors write.

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