Cancer caregiver: Perceived benefits of technology

Maria I. Lapid, Pamela J. Atherton, Matthew M. Clark, Simon Kung, Jeff A. Sloan, Teresa A. Rummans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: The burden associated with caregiving has been well documented. Caregivers have multiple responsibilities, and technology may be accessible as a potential burden-alleviating resource. Materials and Methods: We surveyed cancer caregivers regarding current technology use and willingness to use technology for easing burden or distress. Because age has been associated with technology use, responses were compared between geriatric (≥65 years old) and nongeriatric (18-64 years old) caregivers. Results: We had 112 respondents. Based on nonmissing responses, 66% (n=71) were women, 95% (n=106) were white, and 84% (n=91) had post-high school education. Almost all caregivers reported having Internet (105 [94%]) and e-mail (102 [91%]) access. Nongeriatric caregivers indicated more willingness to access Internet-based tools that help caregivers (54 [93%] versus 41 [76%]; p=0.04) and were more frequent users of social media (37 [64%] versus 16 [30%]; p=0.01), smartphones (33 [57%] versus 16 [30%]; p=0.01), and other mobile wireless devices (42 [72%] versus 19 [35%]; p<0.001) than geriatric caregivers. They also more frequently expected technologies to improve their own quality of life (p=0.009), increase their feelings of being effective as a caregiver (p=0.02), and save time (p=0.003). Regardless of age, a majority of caregivers (67 [62%]) endorsed the potential benefit of caregiving technologies in preventing burnout. Conclusions: Most caregivers have high access to and use of technology. Geriatric and nongeriatric caregivers were receptive to technology-based tools to help with their caregiving roles. Although nongeriatric caregivers expected to derive more benefit from such tools, both groups believed that caregiving technologies could reduce burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)893-902
Number of pages10
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • family
  • informal caregiver
  • intervention
  • oncology
  • psychosocial technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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