The experiences of primary caregivers of cancer patients admitted to a hospice

Ketlogetswe, Tinalipi Sophinah
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Design and Methods A qualitative descriptive design was used for this study and conducted 22 in-depth interviews purposively selected. Sample size was determined by data saturation and qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the data. The inclusion criteria were 18 years and older, ability to speak basic English, identified by the patient as the primary caregiver and willingness to participate. Findings: Participants had different relationships with the sick person; however, caring for a sick mother was the most common. Three themes arose from the data: emotional responses towards the care giver role, personal cost of care giving and spiritual issues relating to care giving. Caring for a person with cancer in the last phase of life was not easy. Participants were overwhelmed by the care responsibilities. Some could not cope with the new role as they were emotionally distressed. Participants were financial burdened by the care needs of the patients; care giving was costly while others sacrificed their source of income to provide care. Most participants used religious practices to cope with their situation. Conclusion: Caring for cancer patients at the last phase of life was not an easy task. Participants were overwhelmed by the responsibilities and demands of caregiving. Most participants were emotionally exhausted and drained and feeling inadequate to perform these responsibilities. The financial burden was related to the care needs of the sick person. The caring role lead to some participants losing their jobs to provide care to their sick loved one.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree Master of Science in Nursing, Faculty of Health sciences, University of the Witwatersrand. Johannesburg, 2018.