Family caregivers of persons receiving treatment of cancer must acquire illness-related skills not usually found among nonprofessional caregivers. Although research is needed to understand the skill acquisition process, no models of family caregiving skill exist to guide such research. The purpose of this study was to develop a model of caregiving skill through qualitative research. Participants were 44 caregiver/patient dyads and 63 individual caregivers. Data were collected using a semi-structured interview. A transactional model of family caregiving skill was developed that includes the concepts of demands of the illness situation, patterns of care, caregiver responses, and patient responses.
College of Nursing, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Neb (Dr Schumacher); the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Fla (Dr Beidler); the School of Nursing, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Dr Beeber); and the Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, Pa (Ms Gambino).
Correspondence author: Karen L. Schumacher, PhD, RN, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 985330 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Funding was provided by a grant, # RO1 NR04685, from the National Institute for Nursing Research (NINR) awarded to the first author. The authors express their appreciation to the family caregivers and patients who participated in this study and to the nurses and physicians who assisted with participant recruitment.