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Caregiving burden among informal caregivers of African American cancer survivors

Purpose Relatively little is known about caregivers of African American cancer survivors. Our goal was to identify the extent of burden among this group of caregivers. Methods Responses from 560 informal caregivers of African American participants of the Research on Cancer Survivors (ROCS) study in Detroit, MI, were analyzed including demographics, assistance provided including activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), time spent in caregiving, and caregiver burden (CGB). We assessed relationships between CGB and demographic variables, ADLs/IADLs, and level of care. Multivariable logistic regression determined which ADLs and IADLs were associated with high CGB. Results Over 75% of caregivers were female and 97% identified as African American. Mean age was 52.6 years. Fifty-six percent were employed outside the home, and 90% were related to the survivor. Caregivers averaged 35.7 h/week providing care, assisting with on average 2.8 ADLs and 5.0 IADLs. Despite the many hours and activities reported, no caregivers rated CGB as severe; only 4% rated it moderate to severe. ADLs associated with the top quartile of CGB were feeding and toileting; IADLs were finances, telephoning, housework, and medications. Conclusions Caregivers for African American cancer survivors provide many hours of care, yet most describe their CGB as low. Although ADL assistance is often available through the healthcare system, assistance with IADLs presents an opportunity to lessen the burden for these caregivers and their care recipients. Implications for Cancer Survivors African American cancer survivors receive much care from informal family caregivers, who assist with multiple ADLs and IADLs. Formal IADL assistance programs, similar to those available for ADLs, would benefit both survivors and caregivers.

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Journal of Cancer Survivorship
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