Development of a conceptual model of cancer caregiver health literacy

Yuen, E. Y. N. et al. European Journal of Cancer Care. Volume 25, Issue 2, pages 294–306, March 2016

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Image source: Rachel Johnson

Caregivers play a vital role in caring for people diagnosed with cancer. However, little is understood about caregivers’ capacity to find, understand, appraise and use information to improve health outcomes. The study aimed to develop a conceptual model that describes the elements of cancer caregiver health literacy.

Six concept mapping workshops were conducted with 13 caregivers, 13 people with cancer and 11 healthcare providers/policymakers. An iterative, mixed methods approach was used to analyse and synthesise workshop data and to generate the conceptual model.

Six major themes and 17 subthemes were identified from 279 statements generated by participants during concept mapping workshops. Major themes included: access to information, understanding of information, relationship with healthcare providers, relationship with the care recipient, managing challenges of caregiving and support systems.

The study extends conceptualisations of health literacy by identifying factors specific to caregiving within the cancer context. The findings demonstrate that caregiver health literacy is multidimensional, includes a broad range of individual and interpersonal elements, and is influenced by broader healthcare system and community factors. These results provide guidance for the development of: caregiver health literacy measurement tools; strategies for improving health service delivery, and; interventions to improve caregiver health literacy.

Read the abstract here

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