Informal carers' experiences and needs when supporting patients through chemotherapy: a mixed method study

E. Ream*, V. H. Pedersen, C. Oakley, A. Richardson, C. Taylor, R. Verity

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Informal carers provide important emotional support to patients having chemotherapy and assistance in monitoring and managing side-effects. If they are inadequately supported in this, patient and carer morbidity may result. This study explored needs of informal carers supporting patients with cancer having chemotherapy. The study used a mixed methods approach. Carers of colorectal or lymphoma cancer patients at one comprehensive cancer centre participated. Questionnaire data informed semi-structured interviews conducted with a subsample of respondents. Interviews were analysed using Framework analysis. Questionnaire data were analysed descriptively. Fifty-nine informal carers were invited to participate; 48 returned the questionnaire (response rate 81%) and 13 were interviewed. Informal carers' needs for information about chemotherapy and its side-effects were largely met although a third felt completely or somewhat unprepared to deal with particular symptoms experienced by patients at home. Many carers had unmet needs regarding financial support and their own needs as carers. Assertiveness was important to many caring roles, but it appeared difficult for informal carers to adopt when they were unsupported in this and their role was unrecognised by health professionals. Future research should develop interventions to systematically prepare carers for their carer role, improve carer involvement and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-806
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • cancer
  • oncology
  • carers
  • information
  • mixed methods
  • supportive care


Dive into the research topics of 'Informal carers' experiences and needs when supporting patients through chemotherapy: a mixed method study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this