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Cancer Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/01.NCC.0000305686.36637.b5
Articles

Factors Influencing Family Caregivers' Ability to Cope With Providing End-of-Life Cancer Care at Home

Stajduhar, Kelli I. PhD, RN; Martin, Wanda Leigh MN, RN; Barwich, Doris MD; Fyles, Gillian MD

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Abstract

Dying at home is a goal promoted by many healthcare providers and governments as a way to enhance the dying experience for cancer patients and their family members. A key element to realizing this goal is the availability of a family member who is willing to provide care at home. Little research has been conducted on the factors that influence family caregivers' ability to cope with providing end-of-life cancer care at home. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe factors influencing family caregivers' ability to cope with providing such care. An interpretive descriptive research design guided this study. Semistructured interviews with 29 active family caregivers were conducted and thematically analyzed. Our findings suggest 5 factors that influenced the caregivers' ability to cope: (1) the caregiver's approach to life, (2) the patient's illness experience, (3) the patient's recognition of the caregivers' contribution to his or her care, (4) the quality of the relationship between the caregiver and the dying person, and (5) the caregiver's sense of security. Findings provide important information to assist in informing health services and policies directed at enhancing family caregivers' coping abilities.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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