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Pawlow PC, Blumenthal NP, Christie JD, Matura LA, Aryal S, Ersek M. The Supportive Care Needs of Primary Caregivers of Lung Transplant Candidates. Journal of pain and symptom management. 2021 Nov 1; 62(5):918-926.
CONTEXT: Caring for people with advanced illness has an impact on caregivers' physical, psychological, and emotional health. Patients being evaluated for lung transplantation or those on the transplant waitlist are required to have identified social support. However, little is known about the caregivers' specific supportive care needs. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the supportive care needs of informal caregivers of patients who are being evaluated for or awaiting lung transplantation. METHODS: A cross sectional survey of the caregivers of lung transplant candidates using the Carers' Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT) was conducted. RESULTS: The sample (n = 78) included caregivers from a single-center academic institution in the United States. Participants were predominantly Caucasian and female, mean age 58 years (SD:13). Most were the patient's spouse or partner and over half reported needs in the following areas: what to expect in the future; who to call with healthcare concerns; financial, legal and work issues; and caregivers' feelings and worries. When asked if they need more support in these areas, up to one-third indicated they needed "quite a bit more" or "very much more," with substantial needs regarding what to expect in the future, who to call with healthcare concerns, and financial, legal, or work issues. CONCLUSION: A substantial portion of lung transplant caregivers express need for more support. Future research should focus on testing strategies to promote regular assessment of these needs and examining the effectiveness of interdisciplinary interventions to address them.