Family needs throughout the cancer experience of an adult member was the focus of a descriptive exploratory study conducted with 45 next-of-kin of hospitalized patients. A semi-structured interview plus a 12-item Likert-type questionnaire was used to collect data from the next-of-kin in a cross-sectional approach to ensure equal groups of patients at diagnostic, recurrent, and terminal stages. Most frequently cited primary concerns related to dealing with the symptoms, fear of the future, waiting, and trying to obtain information. Scores on the need scale indicated the highest priority for needs was to be kept informed of the patient condition and to be assured the patient was comfortable. Families of patients at recurrence scored significantly higher than other family groups. The results have significant implications for nursing to facilitate the maintenance of family well-being.
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