• The Experience of Informal Caregivers for Persons with Metastatic Cancer Perceptions of Support

      Fossler, Erica (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014-12-01)
      Purpose/Objectives: To investigate the experience and perceptions of support of caregivers for persons with advanced cancer. Research Approach: A qualitative descriptive approach using focus groups to explore the caregiver experience. Setting: An outpatient oncology infusion center in southcentral Alaska. Participants: 14 adult caregivers of persons with stage IV cancer. Methodologic Approach: Participants attended one of two focus groups. They were asked to share their experiences as informal caregivers. Focus groups were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim for analysis. Krueger’s method for content coding and data analysis was used to identify themes (1998). Findings: Key themes that emerged during data analysis included internal stressors such as emotional and psychological distress, and external stressors of needed financial support and nutritional information, suggesting the stated need of a more comprehensive care approach. Conclusions: Participants recognized needs but did not feel they were supported in accessing resources. The experience of caregiving was often abrupt in onset in this population and the overwhelming amount of information they received did not include enough information on the act of caregiving or the resources available. Implications for Nursing: Advanced practice nurses are instrumental in identifying and addressing caregiver needs. As patient educators and advocates, they provide education and resource support to both the patients and the caregivers in an effort to minimize caregiver exhaustion.