Support after brain tumor means different things: family caregivers’ experiences of support and relationship changes
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Shorter hospital stays and greater emphasis on outpatient care means that family members have the primary responsibility for supporting a person with brain tumor to manage the physical, cognitive, behavioral, and emotional effects of the illness and its treatment. Given the integral role of family caregivers, it is essential to understand their experience of the impact of brain tumor and their own support needs. Accordingly, this qualitative study aimed to investigate family caregivers’ experiences of support and relationship changes in the context of brain tumor. In-depth interviews were conducted with 11 family caregivers (8 spouse/partner, 3 parents) of people with malignant or benign tumor. A thematic analysis of interview transcripts identified two major themes, namely, “Meanings of Support” and “Relationship Impacts.” The Meanings of Support theme was characterized by intertwined and distinct support needs, varied expectations of support and factors influencing support expectations. The Relationship Impacts theme depicted mixed experiences of strengthened, maintained, and strained relations with the person with brain tumor. Overall, the findings highlight that there is considerable variability in caregivers’ experiences and expectations of support and the impact of brain tumor on relationships. The implications of these findings for the provision of caregiver support are discussed.
Frontiers in Oncology
© 2015 Ownsworth, Goadby and Chambers. 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) or licensor 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.
Oncology and Carcinogenesis not elsewhere classified