Giving support and getting help: informal caregivers’ experiences with palliative care services
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OBJECTIVE: Palliative care services have made significant contributions to those needing end-of-life care, but the effect of these services on informal caregivers is less clear. This article reviews the literature and examines the influences of palliative care services on caregivers of people who are dying of cancer, HIV-related illnesses, and illnesses of later life. METHODS: Based on questions that we developed from the literature review, we conducted six focus groups in Toronto, Thunder Bay, and Ottawa, Canada, with informal caregivers about their experiences with caregiving and with palliative care services. RESULTS: We outline the major themes relating to the 42 focus group participants’ experiences of giving support and getting help. SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Our findings help us better understand the common concerns of caregivers of terminally ill seniors, people with HIV/AIDS, and people with cancer. The article discusses the implications of participants’ experiences for palliative care service providers.
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