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Identifying and Addressing Family Caregiver Anxiety

Moss, Karen O., PhD, RN, CNL; Kurzawa, Colleen, MSN, RN, MFA; Daly, Barbara, PhD, RN, FAAN; Prince-Paul, Maryjo, PhD, RN, FPCN

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: February 2019 - Volume 21 - Issue 1 - p 14–20
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000489
Symptom Management Series
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Family caregivers are an increasingly diverse group of individuals who provide significant amounts of direct and indirect care for loved ones with long-term chronic illnesses. Caregiver needs are vast, particularly as these relate to the caregiver's quality of life. However, caregivers are often unlikely to address their personal and health-related concerns. Unmet needs combined with the caregiving role often lead to high levels of caregiver anxiety. Unaddressed, this anxiety is likely to result in poor health and low quality of life. Nurses, along with the health care team, are well positioned to assess, monitor, intervene, and reassess anxiety levels in caregivers using standardized screening tools across care settings. This article focuses on the family caregiver anxiety symptom in community-based settings, where health care providers have unique opportunities to detect this symptom in a familiar environment and begin immediate intervention leading to promotion of quality of life for the caregiver and subsequently the care recipient. Additional research efforts should be focused on health care provider goals of care, dyadic assessments, and monitoring of caregiver needs while caring for their loved ones aging in place.

Karen O. Moss, PhD, RN, CNL, is postdoctoral fellow, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Colleen Kurzawa, MSN, RN, MFA, is doctoral student, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio.

Barbara Daly, PhD, RN, FAAN, is professor, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Maryjo Prince-Paul, PhD, RN, FPCN, is associate professor, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Address correspondence to Karen O. Moss, PhD, RN, CNL, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, 2120 Cornell Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106 (kxm519@case.edu).

Author Contributions: K.O.M. and C.K. contributed to all aspects of the paper from conception through development and initially developed the paper. Both B.D. and M.P.-P. provided feedback on the product throughout its refinement. Each coauthor wrote and edited all components of the paper and has reviewed the final paper prior to submission.

The primary author is funded through a T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Institutes of Nursing Research in Symptom Management and Palliative Care Research in Adults With Advanced Disease (T32 NR014213). The secondary author is funded through the Nurse Faculty Loan Program.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

© 2019 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.