Psychosocial support interventions for cancer caregivers reducing caregiver burden

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Informal caregivers of individuals affected by cancer undertake a range of activities and responsibilities throughout the course of the cancer care trajectory. This role is often undertaken alongside employment and other caring roles and can contribute to caregiver burden, which may be ameliorated through psychosocial intervention. RECENT FINDINGS: Fifteen new studies investigating the potential of psychosocial interventions for reducing caregiver burden were identified from the period January 2019 to February 2020. Studies were mostly quasi-experimental or randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Psychoeducation was the main intervention identified, though content varied, psychoeducation was associated with improvements in burden, quality of life (QoL) domains and psychological symptoms for caregivers. A small number of counselling/therapeutic interventions suggest that caregivers supporting patients with advanced cancer or cancers with high symptom burden may experience reduced psychological symptoms and QoL benefits. There was a paucity of evidence for other psychosocial interventions (e.g. mindfulness, acceptance and commitment therapy) and methodological quality was variable across all intervention types. SUMMARY: Psychosocial interventions may help to reduce burden for informal caregivers of individuals affected by cancer, though there remains a need for rigorously designed, multicentred RCTs and to examine the long-term impact of psychosocial interventions for caregivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-262
JournalCurrent opinion in supportive and palliative care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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