Family caregivers and palliative care: current status and agenda for the future

J Palliat Med. 2011 Jul;14(7):864-9. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2010.0413. Epub 2011 May 20.


The quality of life of the person confronting the end stages of their life may be severely compromised without the support of family caregivers. Indeed, most people requiring palliative care would not be able to fulfill their preferences, such as care at home, without significant family caregiver input. As a consequence, health services are mandated to support the family alongside the person diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. In short, palliative care is supposed to be family centred. However, the quality and type of support made available to family caregivers has been questioned. The purpose of this review is to outline a succinct and empirically informed account of family caregiving within the context of palliative care and to propose an agenda for the future. The appraisal is underpinned by several systematic reviews, and other seminal publications from the last decade.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers*
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care*
  • Quality of Life
  • Social Support