The experience of hope for informal caregivers of palliative patients

J Palliat Care. 2005 Winter;21(4):285-91.


This study explored the experience of hope for informal caregivers of palliative patients. Interviews were conducted with 10 caregivers living with and providing care to a palliative patient. The interview data were analyzed using grounded theory qualitative methods. "Eroding hope" was their main concern--a result of bad days, negative messages, and experiences with the health care system. The participants dealt with eroding hope by "hanging on to hope." Hanging on to hope had four subprocesses: a) doing what you have to do, b) living in the moment, c) staying positive, and d) writing your own story. The support of friends, family, and health care professionals, and spiritually connecting with something bigger and stronger were subprocesses. These findings have application for informal caregivers providing palliative care at home, as a basis for assessment and interventions. Health care professionals need to recognize and value the experience of hope for the informal caregivers of palliative patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Death
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Bereavement
  • Canada
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Morale*
  • Negativism
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Palliative Care / psychology*
  • Religion and Psychology
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires