Cancer research and treatment : official journal of Korean Cancer Association 2018 03 21() doi 10.4143/crt.2017.557
When it comes to cancer care, the psychological well-being of family caregivers has gotten its deserved attention. However, the specific roles that the family caregivers take have not been examined as much. The current study aimed to investigate the distribution of family caregivers’ roles, particularly in a family-oriented culture, Korea.
Materials and Methods
A sample of 439 participants was recruited from 11 national and regional cancer centers in Korea. The participants who were 60 years old or above went through treatments for their gastric, colorectal, or lung cancer. The individual survey included questions regarding the family type, living arrangement, and the sources of support when it comes to their physical, emotional, financial, and decision-making needs.
The responses from the participants showed that (1) cancer caregiving is shared by multiple family caregivers; (2) the major source of support for elderly cancer patients on diverse domains was their spouse; (3) patients’ reliance on their daughter(s) increased for emotional support; and (4) patients’ reliance on their son(s) stood out for financial support and decision-making support. Also, the older the patients were, the heavier their reliance was on the adult children, including sons, daughters, and daughters-in-law.
Future support programs for elderly cancer patients are suggested to involve multiple family caregivers to encourage effective and efficient intervention. Also, the limitations of the current study and the suggestions for future research are discussed.