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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • caregiving assessment;
  • caregiving needs;
  • legislation;
  • questionnaire

Abstract

The present authors have developed a model for assessing caregiving-related problems and needs, the Economic, Social, Psychological and Educational Requirements Table (ESPERT). The model was based on an analysis of the international literature concerning caregiving-related problems, and current specific European and Italian legislation, as well as the authors’ own research results (which also permitted them to design a specific instrument for the general assessment of caregivers). This paper describes the socio-psychological and socio-political background prompting the development of the model, the general instrument for the assessment of caregivers and an example of its use in a sample of caregivers of cancer patients. In the example study, 80 caregivers of cancer patients were asked to complete questionnaires evaluating their state and trait anxiety, depressive symptoms, personality traits, and specifically, their neuroticism or emotional instability, caregiving strain and the degree of satisfaction with their lives. In addition to the specific information obtained about this group of caregivers, the present results show that the completion of the ESPERT makes it possible to identify the proportion of subjects at economic, social and emotional risk, and to decide rapidly what kind of resources/interventions can be implemented, bearing in mind the most balanced cost–benefit ratio.