The Stress Process in Palliative Cancer Care: A Qualitative Study on Informal Caregiving and its Implication for the Delivery of Care
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OBJECTIVE: The primary objective of this study was to examine how the comprehensive nature of the Stress Process Model could elucidate on the stressors associated with caring for a palliative cancer patient. METHOD: A qualitative research strategy involving home-based face-to-face interviews with 12 bereaved family caregivers was used to examine the caregiving experience. RESULTS: The primary stressors associated with caring for the palliative cancer care patients stemmed from care recipient symptoms and personal care needs. The absence of adequate support from the formal health care delivery system was a consistent message from all participants. There was evidence of financial stress primarily associated with the purchase of private home care to supplement formal care. In contrast, the resources that family caregivers relied on to moderate the stressful effects of caregiving included extended family, friends, and neighbors. While the stress of direct caregiving was high, the study revealed that formal care was also a significant source of stress for family caregivers. CONCLUSION: It was concluded that an appropriately financed, integrated system of care that followed a person-centered philosophy of care would best meet the needs of the patient and his or her family.
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