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Response to the Needs of Turkish Chemotherapy Patients and their Families

Gozum, Sebahat PhD¨¨; Akçay, Dugu MSc

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The purpose of this study was to determine the quality of life, depressive symptoms, and informational needs of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and of their family caregivers. This article presents findings from a study of 111 patients with cancer and 34 of their primary family caregivers from an outpatient chemotherapy unit in eastern Turkey. The results indicated that the patients perceived a poorer quality of life than their family caregivers. The patients also were more clinically depressed. Furthermore, both the patients and caregivers received little information regarding the illness and the side effects of chemotherapy from their health professionals. Nearly half of the patients and over half of the caregivers reported that information given by health professionals was verbal. Most of the patients and caregivers reported they felt that they needed to be visited by health professionals at their home when they ask for such services and/or once a week. Patients reported the need for assistance with one or more personal, instrumental, or administrative activities. The need for administrative activities of patients and caregivers were found to be similar. In conclusion, nurses must continue to work hard to focus not only on the disease and its symptoms, but also on the impact on the day-to-day living of the patient with cancer and his or her family. Home visits may empower patients and caregivers by giving them information and professional support.

From the Atatu¨rk University School of Nursing (Dr Go¨zu¨m), Erzurum; and the Maresçal Çakmak Military Hospital (Mr Akçay), Erzurum, Turkey.

Corresponding author: Sebahat Go¨zu¨m, PhD, Department of Public Health Nursing, Atatu¨rk University School of Nursing, 25240 Erzurum, Turkey (e-mail: sgozum@atauni.edu.tr; sgozum_25@hotmail.com).

Accepted for publication September 14, 2005.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.