Targeting Communication Interventions to Decrease Caregiver Burden

Elaine Wittenberg-Lyles, Joy Goldsmith, Debra Parker Oliver, George Demiris, Anna Rankin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objectives: To describe family communication patterns that give shape to four types of family caregivers: Manager, Carrier, Partner, and Loner. Data Sources: Case studies of oncology family caregivers and hospice patients selected from data collected as part of a larger, randomized controlled trial aimed at assessing family participation in interdisciplinary team meetings. Conclusion: Each caregiver type demonstrates essential communication traits with nurses and team members; an ability to recognize these caregiver types will facilitate targeted interventions to decrease family oncology caregiver burden. Implications for Nursing Practice: By becoming familiar with caregiver types, oncology nurses will be better able to address family oncology caregiver burden and the conflicts arising from family communication challenges. With an understanding of family communication patterns and its impact on caregiver burden, nurses can aid the patient, family, and team to best optimize all quality-of-life domains for patient and family caregiver.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-270
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Oncology Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Communication
  • Family caregiver
  • Family caregiver types
  • Family communication patterns


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