High Percentage of Caregivers Report Feeling Depressed, Study Finds
Eighty-nine percent of caregivers of young adult colorectal cancer survivors are depressed because they can’t take the pain away, according to findings from the Raymond Foundation, an advocacy organization that aims to eradicate colon cancer.
Over a two-year period, a professional facilitator from the foundation hosted nationwide focus groups to reach caregivers in rural, urban and community oncology settings across 32 states. The 576 participants were asked to describe in one word their current feelings.
The top 10 responses: “stressed,” “anxious,” “alone,” “exhausted,” “angry,” “needed,” “guilty,” “burned out,” “overwhelmed” and “frustrated.”
Results determined that most caregivers (89 percent) reported depression; 76 percent felt ill-equipped to help their loved one, which led to stress and anxiety; 73 percent felt lost and helpless; and 55 percent reported a decline in self-health, such as trouble sleeping or focusing and constant sadness.
To address the results of the focus groups, the Raymond Foundation hopes to create caregiver-specific programs and expand support services. “Emotional and psychosocial support are essential to the well-being of our caregivers as they provide vital support to patients in need throughout the cancer care continuum,” authors wrote.