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The unmet needs of carers of patients diagnosed with sarcoma: A qualitative study

Background: Sarcoma is a rare cancer that may result in reduced mobility, social isolation, poorer mental health, and ongoing medical issues for patients. Family carers play a crucial role in supporting patients throughout their sarcoma journey. Despite the aggressive and debilitating nature of the disease, the unmet needs of these carers are yet to be explored. Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the unmet needs of carers of patients diagnosed with sarcoma. Methods: An exploratory qualitative research design with a social constructionist epistemology was used. Participants were carers of patients diagnosed with a sarcoma (n = 33). Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with carers of patients who completed treatment for sarcoma and also bereaved carers (BC). Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. Findings: Four overarching themes were identified: support with medical aspects of caregiving, support for self, needing information about the patient, and financial support. Participants recognised that they needed psychosocial support, however, many were reluctant to access support as they perceived this to be prioritising their own needs instead of the patients'. They also needed more information about the patients' disease and how to navigate the health system. Conclusions: Family carers for patients with sarcoma have onerous responsibilities that affect their ability to access care for themselves and their family. Providing more holistic patient care and carer‐specific information and training could reduce carer burden. Establishing support groups specific to carers and BC of patients diagnosed with sarcoma could provide opportunities for social interaction and psychosocial support.

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Journal article
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Psycho - Oncology
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