Purpose: Little is known about the degree to which caregiver training as part of routine clinical care influences caregiver self-efficacy. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between training during routine clinical cancer care and self-efficacy among caregivers of colorectal cancer patients. Methods: Caregivers completed a self-administered questionnaire about their experiences with training for specific patient problems and about their task-specific and general caregiving self-efficacy. Associations between training and self-efficacy were examined for each problem using multivariate logistic regression adjusted for caregiver age, race, care burden, education, perception of patient’s health, and patient stage of disease. Results: Four hundred seventeen caregivers completed the survey (70% response rate), of whom 374 (90%) were female and 284 (68%) were the patient’s spouse/partner. Overall, 77 (38%) reported inadequate training for pain, 80 (38%) for bowel, 121 (48%) for fatigue, 65 (26%) for medication administration, and 101 (40%) for other symptoms. The odds of having low self-efficacy were significantly higher among those with perceptions of inadequate training across the following cancer-related problems: pain 10.10 (3.36, 30.39), bowel 5.04 (1.98, 12.82), fatigue 8.45 (3.22, 22.15), managing medications 9.00 (3.30, 24.51), and other 3.87 (1.68, 8.93). Conclusions: Caregivers commonly report inadequate training in routine colorectal cancer care. Significant and consistent associations between training adequacy and self-efficacy were found. This study supports the value of training caregivers in common cancer symptoms. Further work on how and when to provide caregiver training to best impact self-efficacy is needed.
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