Life experiences of caregivers of women with gynaecological cancer: a mixed-methods systematic review

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Abstract

Family caregivers play a key role in meeting care needs of cancer patients. The aim of this review was to systematically examine life experiences of family caregivers of women with gynaecological cancer. A mixed-methods systematic review based on a retrospective review of the research on the topic was conducted. The review was limited to articles in English published between 1985 and 2014. The literature search was performed in CINAHL, Scopus, PubMed and ScienceDirect. A total of 16 full-text articles published in national and international journals were reviewed: 10 quantitative studies, 5 qualitative studies and 1 both qualitative and quantitative study. Of all caregivers with gynaecological cancer, 59% were partners, 27% were sons or daughters and 14% were brothers or sisters, mothers and friends. The qualitative research on caregivers’ experiences revealed three themes: ‘emotional devastation’, ‘change’ and ‘coping’. The family caregivers of women with gynaecological cancer had difficulty in areas examined, but the studies investigating caregivers’ needs were limited to certain subjects and they were not solution-oriented. It is recommended that qualitative and quantitative studies including the solutions regarding family caregivers of women with gynaecological cancer should be integrated.

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