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Lifestyle and Symptom Management Needs: A Network Analysis of Family Caregiver Needs of Cancer Patients

Background: Previous research on the needs of family cancer caregivers (FCCs) have not elucidated associations between specific caregiving needs. Methods: Network analysis, a statistical approach that allows the estimation of complex relationship patterns, helps facilitate the understanding of associations between needs and provides the opportunity to identify and direct interventions at relevant and specific targets. No studies to date, have applied network analysis to FCC populations. The aim of the study is to explore the network structure of FCC needs in a cohort of caregivers in Singapore. FCCs (N = 363) were recruited and completed a self-report questionnaire on socio-demographic data, medical data on their loved ones, and the Needs Assessment of Family Caregivers-Cancer scale. The network was estimated using state-of-the-art regularized partial correlation model. The most central needs were having to deal with lifestyle changes and managing care-recipients cancer-related symptoms. Results: The strongest associations were between (1) having enough insurance coverage and understanding/navigating insurance coverage, (2) managing cancer-related pain and managing cancer-related symptoms, (3) being satisfied with relationships and having intimate relationships, and (4) taking care of bills and paying off medical expenses. Lifestyle changes, living with cancer, and symptom management are central to FCCs in Singapore. These areas deserve special attention in the development of caregiver support systems. Conclusions: Our findings highlight the need to improve access to social and medical support to help FCCs in their transition into the caregiving role and handle cancer-related problems. 

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
Type of Work
Journal article
Publisher
Frontiers
ISBN/ISSN
16640640
Publication Year
2021
Journal Titles
Frontiers In Psychiatry
Volume Number
12
Start Page
739776