+AA
Fr
Back
Evidence Summary

What is an Evidence Summary?

Key messages from scientific research that's ready to be acted on

Got It, Hide this
  • Rating:

Web-based support benefits caregivers of cancer patients

Kaltenbaugh, DJ, Klem, ML, Hu, L, et al. Using web-based interventions to support caregivers of patients with cancer: A systematic review Oncol Nurs Forum. 2015;42:156-164.

Review question

Does web-based support benefit caregivers of cancer patients?

Background

In the past, support for cancer caregivers has mainly happened over the phone or in person, using many different types of therapy. These types of support have been shown to improve mental health and well-being for caregivers.  However, many caregivers cannot or do not use these support services because they can be time-consuming and expensive. New research is looking at the benefits of web-based support, which could potentially help support hard-to-reach groups such as informal caregivers.

How the review was done

The review included 6 studies of limited quality, with the number of caregivers included in each study ranging from 13 to 285. The majority of caregivers were female spouses of the patient with cancer, who had some experience using the Internet. All studies included caregiver support via the internet. One approach supplied reading materials, the others offered interactive components including tailored online modules, communication tools, training and coaching support, activities and discussion boards for caregivers. Five of the 6 studies measured the psychological benefits (eg. level of burden, mood, stress) of web support; one also measured social benefits.  Physical benefits were also measured (1 study), as well as usability (2 studies) and feasibility (1 study). 

What the researchers found

Five studies found that web-based support helped improve some aspects of psychological health for caregivers, including mood, stress, burden, coping and quality of life. One study showed that web-based support reduced the social support needed from family, friends, and health care providers.  The studies were all of limited quality, and the authors recommend more high quality research to learn more about the effects of web-based caregiver support.

Conclusion

Web-based support has the potential to benefit caregivers of cancer patients. More high quality research is recommended to better understand the benefits and best methods for web-based support.



Related Topics


Related Web Resources

  • Colorectal cancer test recommendations

    Health Link B.C.
    Colorectal testing every 1-2 years is recommended for people between ages 50 and 74. Your doctor may recommend screening before age 50 and more often if you have an increased risk of this type of cancer (eg. family history of colon cancer, polyps or Crohn's disease).
  • Breast cancer Screening video

    Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care
    Women ages 50-74 should have a mammogram every 2 to 3 years, if they are not at high risk of breast cancer. Discuss with your doctor whether you should have a mammogram if you are over age 75.
  • Dance therapy for people with cancer

    Evidently Cochrane
    Dance therapy does not appear to have a large benefit on improving physical or psychological symptoms of people with cancer, such as depression, fatigue or body image. However, you should dance if it helps you feel better.
DISCLAIMER These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

Register for free access to all Professional content

Register
Want the latest in aging research? Sign up for our email alerts.
Subscribe
© 2012 - 2019 McMaster University | 1280 Main Street West | Hamilton, Ontario L8S4L8 | +1 905-525-9140 | Terms Of Use