The information and learning needs of the caregiving family of the adult patient with cancer



The need for information by the caregiving family of an adult patient with cancer has been identified by research. This paper is a literature review of the information and learning needs of caregiving relatives. By meeting these needs the health care professional is able to help support the family, and therefore the patient, with the difficult adjustment to the diagnosis and through the subsequent course of the disease. The health care professional facilitates the individual caregivers’coping mechanisms and the benefits can be seen in the caregiving outcome for both the family and the patient. Information needs vary from individual to individual and are dynamic throughout the cancer experience. This paper describes the role of the nurse in this area, and encourages the nurse to act as a resource person for the caregiver by the appropriate delivery of information and by ensuring that the information given to the family by other health care professionals is understood and fulfils their needs.