Positive aspects and challenges associated with caring for a dying relative at home

Int J Palliat Nurs. 2004 Feb;10(2):58-65; discussion 65. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2004.10.2.12454.


Research has consistently shown that family caregivers have a variety of unmet needs, despite comprehensive professional support for caregivers being a central aim of palliative care. This sub-study of a larger randomized controlled trial sought feedback from 47 primary family caregivers of advanced cancer patients who had recently commenced home palliative care. During semi-structured interviews in their homes, family caregivers were asked to comment on the key challenges associated with their role and whether they could identify challenges. These were associated with their own ill health, family circumstances, insufficient skills to manage patient symptoms, limited time for themselves and inadequate support from health professionals. Despite these challenges, 60% of family caregivers were readily able to identify positive aspects of the role. Previous research has tended to focus on the negative impact of caregiving. The extent to which the positive aspects buffer the negative aspects of the role warrants further exploration, as does the long-term impact of the caregiver role on those who are unable to recognize positive elements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Australia
  • Caregivers / education
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Home Nursing* / education
  • Home Nursing* / organization & administration
  • Home Nursing* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Neoplasms / nursing
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Terminal Care* / organization & administration
  • Terminal Care* / psychology