Living and coping with Parkinson's disease: perceptions of informal carers

Palliat Med. 2011 Mar;25(2):177-82. doi: 10.1177/0269216310385604. Epub 2010 Oct 15.


A review of the literature highlights the important role informal carers play in the provision of palliative care in the community. In order to explore the caring experience of relatives with Parkinson's Disease (PD), interviews were conducted with 26 informal family caregivers. Interviews were taped, transcribed and subjected to content analysis. All caregivers were spouses, the majority female (n = 17) and all were responsible for providing physical, social and emotional care in the home. Although they viewed care giving as their role and duty, the results highlight the widespread burden of providing care on the emotional and physical health of the caregivers. The financial implications for providing care were outlined, with many reporting difficulty in accessing benefits. From the point of diagnosis, which had a huge emotional impact on relatives and carers, carers did not feel health professionals integrated them within the caring journey. Since diagnosis, carers commented on the lack of continued and coordinated care plans for relatives, resulting in symptoms being mismanaged and care opportunities for relatives and carers missed. Stereotypes of the meaning and timing of palliative care were common with many viewing it as being synonymous with cancer and not applicable to a person with PD. As the well-being of the informal carer directly influences the care of the person with PD, support interventions are required to relieve their burden, maximize outcomes and ensure targeting of services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Communication
  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Female
  • Home Care Services / organization & administration
  • Home Care Services / standards*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Palliative Care / standards*
  • Parkinson Disease / nursing*
  • Professional-Family Relations*
  • Qualitative Research