William Matthew Meredith


Family caregivers emotionally suffer equal to or more than cancer patients. Indeed, they have been described as the “forgotten patient” and often their needs are overlooked by health care providers. The objectives of this study are to examine digitally recorded hospice nurse home visits to describe the occurrence, type (categorize), frequency, and nature of exchange surrounding family caregivers’ expression of positive affect. Examination will determine the relative percentage of positive emotion codes, percentage of positive emotion by speaker, frequency of positive emotion codes per visit, and percentage of positive emotion codes relative to total visit codes.  The data for this project will be derived from a large National Cancer Institute funded parent project (P01CA138317). The parent project is a longitudinal descriptive study of family caregivers of cancer patients’ communication with their hospice nurses. The UROP project will use a descriptive approach. From the parent study, a sample of 19 visits have been randomly selected. All home visits in the parent study have been coded using a widely used and validated coding system, Roter Interaction Analysis System “RIAS” (Ong, L.M, 1998, Pgs. 387-401). Statements of positive affect will identified and classified to sub-domains; e.g. gratitude, benefit finding, personal growth, humor, etc. Descriptive statistics will be calculated for frequency, relative concentration, and intended direction. Correlational analyses will be conducted to assess for relationships between family caregiver positive affect and caregiver outcomes. The results of this study will elucidate the nature of conversations during hospice between family caregivers of cancer patients and hospice nurses. The nature of conversations during hospice are rarely studied. The current data set of collection of conversations allows a unique and unparalleled look into these as of yet, unstudied conversations. It may suggest new interventions encouraging positive emotion for the 1,600,000 families currently enrolled in hospice.

Keywords: Hospice, communication, psychology, positive emotion, well-being, caregiver, cancer


Positive Emotion; Well-Being; Caregiver; Cancer

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