People are diagnosed with cancer sooner nowadays thanks to increased awareness and improvements in cancer screenings. Patients are able to live longer due to cancer treatment regimens; however, they suffer the consequences of living with cancer and therapy-related symptoms. Symptom management is challenging for both patients and family caregivers. Therefore, family members must be integrated in the patient’s care plan. For this review, a literature search was conducted to determine what types of interventions were available that involved family members of cancer patients with the management of cancer and therapy-related symptoms. The following interventions were found that were designed for the family caregivers or both the patient and caregiver to aide with symptom management: pain intervention program, massage therapy, telephone intervention, self-efficacy improvement, coping enhancement and a multidimensional intervention. A positive effect was noted in all the studies, but several had no significance in the patient intervention group but did in the caregiver intervention group. However, studies indicated decreased symptom intensity for various symptoms, decreased symptom distress for both the patient and caregiver, increased self-efficacy of the family member, and increased satisfaction with certain interventions. Further research should be conducted on both existing interventions to better determine their effect and on family symptom management of cancer patients as they need support from healthcare professionals as well.
Hazelwood, Daniela M., Sabine Koeck, Martin Wallner, Kathryn H. Anderson, Hanna Mayer.
"Patients with Cancer and Family Caregivers: Management of symptoms caused by Cancer or Cancer Therapy at Home."
HeilberufeScience, 3 (4): 149-158.