The experiences, perceptions, and support needs among family caregivers of patients with advanced cancer and eating problems: An integrative review

Cheng Hui-Lin, Gan Ting

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Advanced cancer patients often present with numerous eating problems, posing a significant challenge for family caregivers during the provision of nutritional care. Aim: To systematically identify and synthesize empirical literature on the experiences, perceptions, and support needs of family caregivers of patients with advanced cancer and eating problems to ascertain directions for future research. Design: Integrative review guided by Whittemore and Knafl’s methodological framework. Data sources: Five electronic databases were searched from their inception to April 2021. Studies were eligible if they examined family caregivers’ perspectives and experiences when caring for their relatives with advanced cancer and eating problems and were primary quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods studies published in English-language peer-reviewed journals. The Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool was used to evaluate the quality of the studies. Results: Twenty-seven papers from 21 studies met the eligibility criteria and were included in this review. The included papers were mostly qualitative studies and were of moderate to high methodological quality. Three themes were identified: (a) multiple negative effects of advanced cancer patients’ eating problems; (b) coping responses in managing advanced cancer patients’ eating problems; and (c) unmet support needs in the provision of nutritional care. Conclusions: Research on the studied topic was descriptive and predominantly qualitative in nature. Quantitative research examining the impact of caregiving experiences in relation to food and eating in the context of advanced cancer patients is the first important step moving this research area forward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-236
Number of pages18
JournalPalliative Medicine
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Keywords

  • caregivers
  • hospice care
  • malignant neoplasms
  • malnutrition
  • palliative care
  • Review
  • terminal care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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