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Effect of an Integrated Cancer Support Team on Caregiver Satisfaction With End-of-Life Care

Sara L. Douglas

Barbara J. Daly

family caregivers, end of life, cancer
ONF 2014, 41(4), E248-E255. DOI: 10.1188/14.ONF.E248-E255

Purpose/Objectives: To test the effectiveness of an interdisciplinary cancer support team (CST) on caregiver satisfaction with end-of-life (EOL) care for family members with advanced cancer.

Design: Quasi-experimental pre- and post-test tandem design.

Setting: Outpatient clinics of a comprehensive cancer center in urban Cleveland, OH.

Sample: 106 family caregivers.

Methods: Participants were enrolled into the control or CST group. Caregiver mood state and social support were measured at enrollment as well as at 3, 9, and 15 months, and satisfaction with EOL care was measured eight weeks after the patient's death.

Main Research Variables: Caregiver mood state, social support, and satisfaction with EOL care.

Findings: The intervention made no statistically significant contribution to caregiver mood state or perception of social support. The intervention group reported higher satisfaction with overall EOL care as well as five specific areas of EOL satisfaction (i.e., pain relief, information about managing pain, speed in treating symptoms, information regarding side effects, and coordination of care).

Conclusions: The CST yielded improved EOL satisfaction.

Implications for Nursing: Although the emotional impact of an impending loss of a loved one may not change with the provision of support, perception that a loved one was well cared for in the terminal phase of illness may have long-range benefits through the grieving process. Investigation of the long-range effects of satisfaction with EOL care on the grieving process is warranted.

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