Post-Traumatic Distress and Symptom Experience in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer–Related Tracheostomy and Family Caregivers

Tongyao Wang Susan R. Mazanec

Nicholas K. Schiltz

Nipun Chhabra

Rod Rezaee

Joachim G. Voss
tracheostomy, post-traumatic distress, caregiver, mental health, depression, PTSD
ONF 2022, 50(1), 35-46. DOI: 10.1188/23.ONF.35-46

Objectives: To describe post-traumatic distress and identify associated factors in patients with head and neck cancer–related tracheostomy and their family caregivers.

Sample & Setting: This observational study assessed 22 patients with surgically managed head and neck cancer–related tracheostomy and 17 family caregivers at a comprehensive cancer center.

Methods & Variables: Instruments included the Impact of Event Scale–Revised, the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale, and the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Depression 6a Short Form scale.

Results: Post-traumatic distress related to tracheostomy and general depression in patients and family caregivers was highly prevalent. An increased level of physical symptoms was moderately correlated with higher levels of post-traumatic distress.

Implications for Nursing: Patients who experienced higher symptom burden may also suffer from post-traumatic distress related to tracheostomy. Oncology nurses can implement post-traumatic distress screening in patients and their family caregivers.

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