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Article Title

The Effects of a Nonclinical Caregiver’s Presence When a Cancer Patient Is Receiving Highly Emetogenic Chemotherapy

Publication Date

4-30-2015

Keywords

caregiver, chemotherapy

Abstract

Background/Aims: A cancer diagnosis not only affects the patient but also affects the patient’s family and friends. The primary treatment of cancer is chemotherapy. Nausea is the side effect of chemotherapy most patients fear. The study aimed at examining another aspect of helping patients cope with chemotherapy side effects.

Methods: Medical records of patients currently receiving chemotherapy were reviewed to determine eligibility. Participants had to be able to speak, read and understand English, and their chemotherapy protocol must have included at least one highly emetogic-classified chemotherapy drug from the following: Carboplatin, Cytoxan, Adriamycin or Cisplatin. Forty-one participants agreed to be part of the study. Participants were classified into two groups. Group A included 23 participants who had a family or friend caregiver present duKring their treatment session. Group B included 16 participants who were alone during their treatment session. Twenty-four hours postchemotherapy the participant was asked to rate their nausea on a 5-point Likert scale (0=none, 4=symptoms associated with life-threatening consequences). They also were asked to report if they had taken any anti-nausea medication (Compazine), and specifically how many pills in the last 24 hours. Seventy-two hours postchemotherapy the participant was asked to complete the Functional Living Index-Emesis; responses to each question were on a 7-point Likert scale.

Results: The study examined the possibility of a relationship between a nonclinical caregiver’s presence, their level of nausea symptoms and their quality of life. The study showed that a nonclinical caregiver’s presence did not affect the patient’s symptoms of nausea or their need to take less anti-nausea medications. The study supports the idea that a cancer patient’s quality of life can be improved by the presence of a nonclinical caregiver during a patient’s treatment session.

Discussion: The study’s findings suggest there is a benefit to an improved quality of life if a cancer patient receiving highly emetogenic chemotherapy medication has a nonclinical caregiver with them during the time of administration. Although, cancer patients having a nonclinical caregiver present at their side while they receive chemotherapy seems to have no effect on a patient’s reported nausea levels.

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