A qualitative study of bereaved family caregivers: feeling of security, facilitators and barriers for rural home care and death for persons with advanced cancer

BMC Palliat Care. 2021 Jan 8;20(1):7. doi: 10.1186/s12904-020-00705-y.


Background: For cancer patients and their family, an important factor that determines the choice to die at home is the caregivers' feeling of security when caring for the patient at home. Support to caregivers from healthcare professionals is important for the feeling of security. In rural areas, long distances and variable infrastructure may influence on access to healthcare services. This study explored factors that determined the security of caregivers of patients with advanced cancer who cared for the patients at home at the end of life in the rural region of Sogn og Fjordane in Norway, and what factors that facilitated home death.

Methods: A qualitative study using semi-structured in-depth interviews with bereaved with experience from caring for cancer patients at home at the end of life was performed. Meaning units were extracted from the transcribed interviews and divided into categories and subcategories using Kvale and Brinkmann's qualitative method for analysis.

Results: Ten bereaved caregivers from nine families where recruited. Five had lived together with the deceased. Three main categories of factors contributing to security emerged from the analysis: "Personal factors", "Healthcare professionals" and "Organization" of healthcare. Healthcare professionals and the organization of healthcare services contributed most to the feeling of security.

Conclusion: Good competence in palliative care among healthcare professionals caring for patients with advanced cancer at home and well- organized palliative care services with defined responsibilities provided security to caregivers caring for advanced cancer patients at home in Sogn og Fjordane.

Keywords: Advanced cancer; Caregivers; End-of-life; Home care; Home death; Palliative care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult Children
  • Bereavement*
  • Caregivers*
  • Female
  • Home Care Services
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Norway
  • Palliative Care*
  • Parents
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rural Population*
  • Spouses
  • Terminal Care*