Informal carers (family and friends in an unpaid supportive role) are key for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) but may have unmet support needs impacting on their ability to continue providing support. This review synthesised the literature on COPD carers’ support needs and mapped them to the Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT) to assess its suitability for them. The review found the 14-question CSNAT required an additional question on relationships to comprehensively cover COPD carers’ support needs. Follow-on work has since developed and validated this with COPD carers.
Informal carers provide essential support to patients with progressive long-term conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) relieving pressure on over-stretched health and social care services. They support these patients with personal care, meal preparation, shopping, managing healthcare appointments, providing emotional support and administering medication, including the use and maintenance of nebulisers. However, carers are patients in their own right with health and support needs of their own; caring for patients with COPD can have considerable detrimental impacts on carers’ health and wellbeing. Meeting their support needs is essential if they are to manage their own health and wellbeing while providing care throughout the trajectory of the patient’s illness.
There are few evidence-based interventions to support COPD carers, who may particularly benefit from an effective and consistent process to identify and address their support needs. One intervention that could be used for this is the Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT) intervention (http://csnat.org/) comprising two components: (1) an evidence-based, fourteen question tool which is integrated into (2) a five-stage person-centred process that facilitates a consistent and comprehensive assessment, response and review process. However, the tool itself was originally developed with carers of patients in hospice care settings toward the end of life, predominantly caring for those with cancer diagnoses, therefore whether the questions comprehensively cover the support needs of carers of patients with COPD was unknown.
This review therefore systematically identified carer support needs in COPD from the published literature and mapped the findings to the questions on the CSNAT to examines its comprehensiveness for COPD carers.
Review question: Does the CSNAT comprehensively cover the published support needs of carers of patients with COPD?
Aims and objectives
Aim: to explore whether the CSNAT covers the support needs of carers of patients with COPD identified in published literature.
English language studies were identified against predetermined inclusion/exclusion criteria through database searching. Further studies were identified through searching reference lists and citations of included papers. Papers were critically appraised, and data extracted and synthesised by two reviewers. Identified needs were mapped to CSNAT questions.
Potential or actual impact
Paper published: Micklewright K & Farquhar M. Does the Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool cover the established support needs of carers of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? A systematic literature search and narrative review. Palliative Medicine 2020; 34(10):1305-15
DOI: 10.1177/0269216320939243 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32669040/
Follow-on work has since developed and validated this with COPD carers, and has been published: Micklewright K & Farquhar M. Face and content validity of the Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT), and feasibility of the CSNAT Intervention, for carers of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Chronic Illness Epub ahead of print: [25/03/2021] doi.org/10.1177/1742395321999433
This work contributed to the development of CSNAT v3 which is suitable for cares of patients with chronic progressive conditions and is now being used in clinical practice.
Papers/resources associated with this study