Teenage and young adult cancer services in England are centralized in 13 principal treatment centers (TYA-PTC). These “specialist services” are designed to support caregivers as well as young people.
To evaluate whether caregivers of young people with cancer had fewer unmet information and support needs if they had all/some care in a TYA-PTC.
Participants in a cohort study of young people with cancer nominated their main carer to complete the BRIGHTLIGHT Carer Questionnaire, completed 6 months after diagnosis. Comparisons were made according to where young people’s care was delivered: all, some, or no care in a TYA-PTC. Principal components analysis reduced the questionnaire to 5 dimensions, which were used as dependent variables in subsequent regression analysis.
Four hundred seventy-six responses of 514 returned questionnaires (92%) were included in the analysis. The majority of caregivers were white, middle-aged, married/cohabiting mothers. Adjusted analysis indicated caregivers who had all/some care in a TYA-PTC had more satisfaction with support and also with services specifically provided for carers. Those who had some TYA-PTC care had greater satisfaction with information but less opportunity to be involved in decisions.
Caregivers of young people who had no TYA-PTC care have the most unmet information and support needs.
Implications for Practice
Nurses outside of the TYA-PTC need to be supported by the TYA-PTC in providing information/support for caregivers. When a young person is receiving care in multiple hospitals, nurses need to optimize opportunities for caregivers to be involved in decision making.