Lay caregivers' perspectives on injecting subcutaneous medications at home

Int J Palliat Nurs. 2008 Aug;14(8):390-5. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2008.14.8.30774.


Background: Most palliative care patients prefer to be cared for at home. While promoting quality of life for patients, this preference impacts on their caregivers. Lay caregivers in Australia can be required to deliver and adjust complex medication regimens.This study aimed to investigate caregivers' perceptions concerning the injection of subcutaneous medications.

Methods: Fourteen caregivers were interviewed on two occasions, once during the caregiving phase and two months after bereavement.

Results: In the first interview, caregivers expressed anxieties associated with their ability to undertake the task of administering injections, including fears of overdosing their family member. In the bereavement interview caregivers reflected they were pleased they had contributed to the symptom relief of a family member and that although they would not necessarily volunteer to inject family members again, they were generally empowered by the experience. It is important for health professionals to support lay caregivers to successfully achieve their extended caregiving role.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Caregivers* / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Home Nursing* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous* / nursing
  • Injections, Subcutaneous* / psychology
  • Male
  • Palliative Care*
  • Queensland
  • Self Efficacy
  • Social Support