Perspectives from the frontlines: palliative care providers’ expectations of Canada’s compassionate care benefit programme
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Recognising their valuable role as key informants, this study examines the perspectives of front-line palliative care providers (FLPCP) regarding a social benefit programme in Canada designed to support family caregivers at end-of-life, namely the Compassionate Care Benefit (CCB). The CCB's purpose is to provide income assistance and job security to family caregivers who take temporary leave from employment to care for a dying family member. Contributing to an evaluative study that aims to provide policy-relevant recommendations about the CCB, this analysis draws on semi-structured interviews undertaken in 2007/2008 with FLPCPs (n = 50) from across Canada. Although participants were not explicitly asked during interviews about their expectations of the CCB, thematic content analysis revealed 'expectations' as a key finding. Through participants' discussions of their knowledge of and familiarity with the CCB, specific expectations were identified and grouped into four categories: (1) temporal; (2) financial; (3) informational; and (4) administrative. Findings demonstrate that participants expect the CCB to provide: (1) an adequate length of leave time from work, which is reflective of the uncertain nature of caregiving at end-of-life; (2) adequate financial support; (3) information on the programme to be disseminated to FLPCPs so that they may share it with others; and (4) a simple, clear, and quick application process. FLPCPs hold unique expertise, and ultimately the power to shape uptake of the CCB. As such, their expectations of the CCB contribute valuable knowledge from which relevant policy recommendations can be made to better meet the needs of family caregivers and FLPCPs alike.
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