The aim of the study is to explore the relationship between the patients’ symptom burden and their family caregivers’ benefit finding in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) receiving combined chemotherapy.
A cross-sectional study on 181 NSCLC patients receiving combined chemotherapy and their family caregivers was conducted at two comprehensive hospitals from December 2021 to August 2022 in China. The patients completed the self-designed questionnaire, The Chinese Version of M.D. Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI) and Lung Cancer Module of the M.D. Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI-LC), while caregivers completed the self-designed questionnaire, Benefit Finding Scale (BFS).
The mean symptom burden score of NSCLC patients receiving combined chemotherapy was 71.55 (SD = 22.19), and the median score of fatigue was 6 (IQR, 4, 7). Fatigue was the most severe symptom. The mean benefit finding score of family caregivers was 56.09 (SD = 16.25). Among the dimensions of the benefit finding scale, the personal growth dimension scored the highest. The mean score of personal growth dimension was 18.31 (SD = 5.47). The scores of symptom burden of NSCLC patients and the benefit finding of family caregivers were significantly different in patients’ clinical data: stage of tumor, tumor metastasis, duration of illness, self-care ability, leukocyte count (WBC), blood platelet (PLT), hemoglobin content (Hb), Na+ concentration, and K+ concentration (P < 0.05). The symptom burden of NSCLC patients with combined chemotherapy was adversely correlated with the benefit finding of family caregivers (r = − 0.609 ~ − 0.151, P < 0.05).
The symptom burden of patients is adversely correlated with the benefit finding of family caregivers in NSCLC receiving combined chemotherapy; the lighter the symptom burden of patients, the higher the benefit finding of family caregivers. Therefore, appropriate nursing measures should be taken for fatigue, lack of appetite, and other symptoms. A variety of ways should be taken to promote family caregivers to participate in patient symptom management, so as to achieve the goal of reducing the burden of patients’ symptoms and improving the level of family caregivers’ benefit finding.