Managing chronic illness in the family: women as caretakers

J Adv Nurs. 1989 Sep;14(9):735-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.1989.tb01638.x.


This paper is based on an ethnographic study examining how families caring for a chronically ill child in the home construct their experiences of illness. The role of women caretakers is examined, and it is argued that the term family glosses over the work that women do in caretaking. The 'ideology of competence' which determines women's subjective experiences is discussed, and the notion is forwarded that health professionals rely upon this ideology to get the job of caretaking done in the home. Some implications of this discussion for health care delivery are presented.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Child
  • China / ethnology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Diabetes Mellitus / nursing*
  • Home Nursing / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology*