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Needs of caregivers of clinic and hospice cancer patients

Harrington, Vanessa R.N., M.S.N.; Lackey, Nancy R. R.N., Ph.D.; Gates, Marie F. R.N., Ph.D.


This prospective correlational study compared the self-identified needs of 55 caregivers of clinic (n = 25) and hospice (n = 30) cancer patients. Patients identified their family caregivers who filled out the Home Caregiver Need Survey (HCNS) and a demographic data form. The HCNS measures the importance and satisfaction of needs on two seven-point Likert-type scales. Descriptive statistics and t tests were used to analyze the data. Caregivers of both clinic and hospice cancer patients ranked the needs items in the Information and Spiritual categories as most important. Variation in types of information occurred between the groups. Clinic caregivers were less satisfied with how well their needs in the Information category were met. Differences between the groups in the importance scores were significant at the 0.001 level for the needs in the Patient Care and Personal Care categories. Differences in the satisfaction scores between the groups were significant at the 0.001 level for needs in the Household and Patient Care categories. The HCNS is helpful for assessing and screening caregiver needs and identifying differences in needs between groups. Health care providers in clinics and hospices must individualize teaching to meet the specific needs of caregivers, particularly those needs related to information.

Vanessa Harrington is Adult Nurse Practitioner, Radiation Oncology, the Veterans Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.

Nancy R. Lackey is Professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, School of Nursing, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.

Marie F. Gates is Associate Professor at the College of Nursing, University of Tennessee, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Nancy R. Lackey, R.N., Ph.D., University of Missouri at Kansas City, School of Nursing, 2220 Holmes St., Kansas City, MO 64108-2676.

Accepted for publication November 9, 1995.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers