Impact of a Hematologic Malignancy Diagnosis and Treatment on Patients and Their Family Caregivers

Rebecca Hoppe

Marcia A Winter

Katherine Graap

Tara A. Albrecht

Cancer, Caregiver, Impact of Diagnosis, Quality of Life, Hematologic Malignancy
ONF 2022, 49(5), 445-453. DOI: 10.1188/22.ONF.445-453

Objectives: Hematologic malignancies (HMs) are life-threatening cancers that frequently entail aggressive, long, inpatient treatment protocols. This can result in numerous concurrent symptoms and decreased quality of life for patients and can affect family caregivers (FCs). This study examined the impact of an HM diagnosis on patients and on their FCs.

Sample & Setting: A descriptive design was used to explore the experiences of 28 newly diagnosed patients and their FCs. All patients were receiving treatment on an inpatient acute oncology unit at a National Cancer Institute–designated cancer center.

Methods & Variables: Semistructured, separate interviews with patients and FCs were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Textual and content analyses were conducted to generate common themes.

Results: Patients and FCs reported how diagnosis and treatment affected them physically, emotionally, logistically, and financially. They described the effects of their experiences with the health system and providers in areas such as diagnostic process, trust in the medical team, support needs, and hospitalization.

Implications for Nursing: Understanding the parallel experiences of patients with HMs and their designated FCs allows researchers to develop targeted interventions and enables clinicians to provide personalized patient- and family-centered care.

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