Identification of resources and skills developed by partners of patients with advanced colon cancer: a qualitative study

Support Care Cancer. 2018 Dec;26(12):4121-4131. doi: 10.1007/s00520-018-4283-1. Epub 2018 Jun 5.


Purpose: Family caregivers play an important role in caring for patients with advanced cancer. To become competent, individuals must draw on and mobilise an adequate combination of resources. Our goal was to identify the skills developed by caregivers of patients with advanced cancer and the associated resources mobilised. We chose to do it with partners of patients with colon cancer.

Methods: The study used a cross-sectional qualitative design based on 20 individual interviews and a focus group. Partners were recruited from patients treated in three hospitals of France. Semi-structured interviews were conducted until data saturation was achieved. Each interview was transcribed verbatim, and thematic analyses were performed to extract significant themes and subthemes.

Results: Results from the individual and focus group interviews showed that the skills implemented by the partners (in domains of social relationships and health, domestic, organisational, emotional and well-being dimensions) were singular constructs, dependant on if resources (personal, external and schemes) may have been missing and insufficient. In addition, partners may have had these resources but not mobilised them.

Conclusion: The identification of the skills and associated resources could allow healthcare professionals better identifying and understanding of the difficulties met by partners in taking care of patients. This could enable them to offer appropriate support to help the caregivers in their accompaniment.

Keywords: Cancer; Caregivers; Qualitative; Skills.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • France
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Health Resources
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research