An evaluation of Canada's Compassionate Care Benefit from a family caregiver's perspective at end of life
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BACKGROUND: The goal of Canada's Compassionate Care Benefit (CCB) is to enable family members and other loved ones who are employed to take a temporary secured leave to care for a terminally ill individual at end of life. Successful applicants of the CCB can receive up to 55% of their average insured earnings, up to a maximum of CDN$435 per week, over a six week period to provide care for a gravely ill family member at risk of death within a six month period, as evidenced by a medical certificate. The goal of this study is to evaluate the CCB from the perspective of family caregivers providing care to individuals at end of life. There are three specific research objectives. Meeting these objectives will address our study purpose which is to make policy-relevant recommendations informed by the needs of Canadian family caregivers and input from other key stakeholders who shape program uptake. Being the first study that will capture family caregivers' experiences and perceptions of the CCB and gather contextual data with front-line palliative care practitioners, employers, and human resources personnel, we will be in a unique position to provide policy solutions/recommendations that will address concerns raised by numerous individuals and organizations. METHODS: We will achieve the research goal and objectives through employing utilization-focused evaluation as our methodology, in-depth interviews and focus groups as our techniques of data collection, and constant comparative as our technique of data analysis. Three respondent groups will participate: (1) family caregivers who are providing or who have provided end of life care via phone interview; (2) front-line palliative care practitioners via phone interview; and (3) human resources personnel and employers via focus group. Each of these three groups has a stake in the successful administration of the CCB. A watching brief of policy documents, grey literature, media reports, and other relevant items will also be managed throughout data collection. DISCUSSION: We propose to conduct this study over a three year period beginning in October, 2006 and ending in October, 2009.