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The nourishing role: exploratory qualitative research revealing unmet support needs in family carers of people with advanced cancer and eating problems

Hopkinson, Jane 2018. The nourishing role: exploratory qualitative research revealing unmet support needs in family carers of people with advanced cancer and eating problems. Cancer Nursing 41 (2) , pp. 131-138. 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000474

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Abstract

Background: Family carers of patients with advanced cancer living at home have an important role in providing the patient’s food and drink. Little attention has been paid to the support needs, particularly of the nutrition needs, of family carers. Objective: The aim of this study was to report support needs of family carers of patients with advanced cancer and eating problems. Methods: The research is an inductive secondary analysis of baseline interview data from an exploratory trial conducted in the south of England. The interviews explored the management of eating problems in the home. A sample of 31 patients was selected where the patient’s partner/spouse had also agreed to take part in the primary study. Results: The analysis and interpretation reveal family carers to have a nourishing role, which is taken for granted by the patient and the carer themselves. This role is typically seen as an extension of the normal role of wife, mother, or homemaker in the family and no more than what a family carer should do. This obscures a need for information and advice on the nutritional care of patients with cancer with fickle appetite and other eating problems that are difficult to manage. Family carers may also be at a nutritional risk because their own dietary intake was found to mirror the patient’s with some of them losing weight. Conclusions: Family cancer carers have a nourishing role that requires knowledge and skill beyond the everyday. Implications for Practice: Cancer carers need education in how best to provide nutritional care. They also need support in managing their own nutritional risk.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Publisher: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
ISSN: 0162-220X
Date of Acceptance: 7 December 2016
Last Modified: 01 May 2019 16:16
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/97253

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