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Susan R. Mazanec, PhD, RN, AOCN, Research Assistant Professor, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, discusses a study that examined activation for health management in colorectal cancer patients and their family caregivers during the transition to post-treatment survivorship.
Mazanec says both patients and their family caregivers were interviewed in the hospital after colorectal cancer surgery. Both were interviewed again in 6 weeks and then again at 12 weeks. The patients and caregivers were asked about their activation as well as their confidence in managing their health, Mazanec says.
The study found that patients were at the “third level” of activation, which means they were ready to assume responsibility for their health and were interested in making health behavior changes, Mazanec says. Caregivers were also activated for the caregiver role, Mazanec says, and they were some-what confident in managing their own health.
Mazanec says a key finding was that patient activation and caregiver confidence in managing their own health were statistically associated with anxiety, depression and work productivity. These negative emotions could be a barrier to someone’s activation and may be targets for interventions, Mazanec explains.
In practice, caregivers and patients need to be screened for anxiety and depression particularly at transition points.