News

Carers of patients with cancer highly rate nursing support

Almost half of carers surveyed praised nurses’ help.
Cancer patient

Almost half of people surveyed who care for loved ones with cancer say they highly rate the nursing support they receive.

The Macmillan Cancer Support survey, published today [28 September], found that 43% of carers say the help they get from clinical nurse specialists or hospital doctors is very good.

In comparison, only 21% of carers who receive support from a social worker rate it as highly.

The findings are within the report, Under Pressure: The Growing Strain on Cancer Carers, and show the number of people in the UK who care for someone with cancer has soared from about 1.1 million in 2011 to almost 1.5 million in 2016.

Of these, Macmillan describes 110,000 people as the sandwich generation those who care for a parent with cancer while raising their own children.

Similar findings

Kings College London lecturer in cancer nursing Rebecca Verity

Almost half of people surveyed who care for loved ones with cancer say they highly rate the nursing support they receive.

The Macmillan Cancer Support survey, published today [28 September], found that 43% of carers say the help they get from clinical nurse specialists or hospital doctors is ‘very good’.

In comparison, only 21% of carers who receive support from a social worker rate it as highly.

The findings are within the report, Under Pressure: The Growing Strain on Cancer Carers, and show the number of people in the UK who care for someone with cancer has soared from about 1.1 million in 2011 to almost 1.5 million in 2016.

Of these, Macmillan describes 110,000 people as the ‘sandwich generation’ – those who care for a parent with cancer while raising their own children.

Similar findings

King’s College London lecturer in cancer nursing Rebecca Verity said her research into the experience of carers in chemotherapy and acute cancer services produced similar findings.

She said that once carers access support from clinical nurse specialists it is very good, but obtaining access can be a problem.

Also, she said patients often do not request family support at the outset; nurses and doctors need to encourage them to do so.

Lack of understanding

'The problem normally occurs at the beginning of the disease trajectory when no one really understands that the patient needs help,’ said Dr Verity. 

'The patient is struggling with holding onto their independence and does not want to burden their family.’

She added that often the nurse or doctor works with the patient to identify a carer and offer support.

Sources of help

Dr Verity said isolated patients can be signposted to Macmillan nurses, hospital-based support groups and other people who are undergoing treatment.

Macmillan conducted face-to-face interviews with almost 6,500 people in the UK, and surveyed 892 cancer carers via YouGov’s online panel.


Further information

Read the Macmillan report

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