Lifestyle and Symptom Management Needs: A Network Analysis of Family Caregiver Needs of Cancer Patients

Abstract

Previous research on the needs of family cancer caregivers (FCCs) have not elucidated associations between specific caregiving needs. Network analysis, a statistical approach that allows the estimation of complex relationship patterns, helps facilitate the understanding of associations between needs and provides the opportunity to identify and direct interventions at relevant and specific targets. No studies to date, have applied network analysis to FCC populations. The aim of the study is to explore the network structure of FCC needs in a cohort of caregivers in Singapore. FCCs (N = 363) were recruited and completed a self-report questionnaire on socio-demographic data, medical data on their loved ones, and the Needs Assessment of Family Caregivers-Cancer scale. The network was estimated using state-of-the-art regularized partial correlation model. The most central needs were having to deal with lifestyle changes and managing care-recipients cancer-related symptoms. The strongest associations were between (1) having enough insurance coverage and understanding/navigating insurance coverage, (2) managing cancer-related pain and managing cancer-related symptoms, (3) being satisfied with relationships and having intimate relationships, and (4) taking care of bills and paying off medical expenses. Lifestyle changes, living with cancer, and symptom management are central to FCCs in Singapore. These areas deserve special attention in the development of caregiver support systems. Our findings highlight the need to improve access to social and medical support to help FCCs in their transition into the caregiving role and handle cancer-related problems.

Description

© 2021 Yang, Chan, Griva, Kuparasundram and Mahendran. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Keywords

Caregiver Needs, Cancer, Network Analysis, Central Needs, Lifestyle, Symptoms Management

Citation

Yang WFZ, Chan YH, Griva K, Kuparasundram S and Mahendran R (2021) Lifestyle and Symptom Management Needs: A Network Analysis of Family Caregiver Needs of Cancer Patients. Front. Psychiatry 12:739776. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.739776

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