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SAGE Palliative Medicine & Chronic Care

Aug 28, 2020

This episode features Kerry Micklewright and Dr Morag Farquhar (School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK).

Informal carers play a vital role in supporting patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD carers may have unidentified support needs that could be a target for intervention by clinicians. The Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT) is an evidence-based tool to enable identification of carer support needs. Initially developed mainly with carers of patients with end-stage cancer,  it is unclear if it encompasses all the potential support needs of COPD carers.

Knowledge relating to COPD carer support needs from published literature was synthesised, including needs carers felt were met, needs carers felt were unmet and supportive inputs carers considered helpful. The identified support needs were then mapped to the CSNAT, and this exercise suggested that the addition of a question encompassing relationship management issues may be required to make CSNAT more comprehensive for COPD carers.

Many of the support needs of COPD carers are unmet: particular areas of concern relate to prolonged social isolation, accessing services, emotional support and information needs. COPD carers would benefit from a comprehensive, person-centred assessment of their needs and appropriate response to these needs by clinicians. The CSNAT is a promising approach to identifying COPD carer support needs, though it may require an additional question on relationship management to ensure it fully encompasses the potential needs of this group.