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Variation in health literacy among family caregiver communication types

Objective: Previously, four caregiver types have been identified as a result of communication patterns between patient and caregiver, revealing unique caregiver information needs and preferences. The purpose of this study was to explore variation in health literacy among the four family caregiver communication types: manager, partner, carrier, and lone caregivers. Methods: The sample consisted of 115 cancer caregivers. Participants completed the Family Caregiver Communication Tool and the Health Literacy of Caregivers Scale-Cancer. Results: A significant difference in health literacy domains was found between caregiver types for cancer-related communication with the care recipient (P = .038) and understanding of the health care system (P = .003). Of the health literacy domains, mean scores were highest on understanding the health care system for both lone and carrier caregivers. Manager and partner caregivers were highest on the social support domain. The self-care domain was lowest for the carrier, lone, and manager caregivers. Conclusions: There was a variation across health literacy domains among caregiver communication types, further validating the Family Caregiver Communication Typology. Findings showed a need for educational programs for cancer caregivers to strengthen their health literacy skills. As cancer caregivers have a prominent role in the delivery and quality of cancer care, it is pivotal for health care centers to provide caregiver communication training and support. 

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John Wiley & Sons
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