Impact of Home Education on Levels of Perceived Social Support for Caregivers of Cancer Patients


Background: The healthcare needs of cancer patients are complex and persons involved in their caregivingprocess are faced with many issues that need to be addressed. The entire family and particularly the persontaking on responsibility for patient care develop expectations from healthcare professionals, especially nurses.
Objective: The study was conducted to evaluate the impact of a home education program provided to caregiversof cancer patients on the level of their perceived social support and problems in caregiving. Interventions/
Methods: The caregivers of thirty seven cancer patients of 2,400 registered people in a family center were givenan educational program in this descriptive and cross-sectional study twice a week for a month during the periodof March 2011 – April 2011.
Results: Of all caregivers, 56.8% were between the ages 36-40, 94.5% were female,91.9% had received no education on caregiving, 81.0% stated that they mostly felt physically and mentallyinadequate in their caregiving. Perceived Social Support from the family indicated a significant difference at8.05±4.38 before and 11.7±4.97 after the education. A comparison of the mean scores of caregivers on emotionalissues before and after the education revealed the following: spiritual distress scores were 2.54±0.69 before and2.44±0.43 after the education; hopelessness scores, 2.24±0.59 before and 2.23±0.38 after the education; ineffectiveindividual coping was 3.89±1.42 before and 2.45±0.59 after the education; competing needs in decision-makingwere 3.54±0.69 before and 2.10±1.24 after the education; depressive feeling were 3.01±1.53 before and 2.02±0.99after the education (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Positive effects of home education on levels of perceived socialsupport and caregiving problems of caregivers of cancer patients were observed. Home educational programsfor caregivers of cancer patients are important for both better understanding of the requirements of theirpatients and themselves.