Blending Voices of Mexican American Cancer Caregivers and Healthcare Providers to Improve Care

Carolyn Spence Cagle

Elizabeth Wolff

Mexican Americans, caregiver
ONF 2009, 36(5), 555-562. DOI: 10.1188/09.ONF.555-562

Purpose/Objectives: To identify and categorize healthcare provider perceptions of the meaning of cancer to Mexican American female family caregivers, including comparisons to caregiver themes in previous research.

Research Approach: Descriptive, qualitative.

Setting: Three focus groups held in a publicly funded cancer clinic in the southwestern United States.

Participants: 20 healthcare providers in diverse roles.

Methodologic Approach: Tape recording of focus group discussions and transcription of content produced textual data for individual and team analysis.

Main Research Variables: Healthcare provider understanding, caregiver learning, and support needs.

Findings: Five major themes emerged related to the meaning of cancer to Mexican American caregivers: Caregivers fear the cancer diagnosis, interpret cancer as punishment, value maintenance of hope, believe in God and the doctor, and selectively disclose medical information.

Conclusions: Healthcare providers identified most themes defined by Mexican American caregivers in an earlier study. However, provider identification of additional themes supports a blending of voices and partnerships between Mexican American cancer caregivers and providers to address caregiver literacy and support needs during the cancer cycle.

Interpretation: Understanding the cultural meaning of cancer to Mexican American caregivers provides a foundation for healthcare providers to define appropriate caregiver interventions in the cancer trajectory and to meet caregiver support and learning needs. Partnering of caregivers and providers also can ensure culturally sensitive care for Mexican American families experiencing cancer.

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