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Medicina (Buenos Aires)

versión impresa ISSN 0025-7680versión On-line ISSN 1669-9106


LUXARDO, Natalia et al. Caregivers of palliative care home patients. Medicina (B. Aires) [online]. 2009, vol.69, n.5, pp.519-525. ISSN 0025-7680.

Research suggests that patients spend most of the last year of their life at home and that this is the place where they often choose to stay. Family caregiving has become an important issue of palliative care. The purposes of this study were: 1) to identify salient issues of caregiving for family members of palliative care patients and 2) to propose a classification based on different profiles of caregivers. The research was exploratory-descriptive, based on a flexible design, specifically case studies. Caregivers (n=50) were selected randomly among relatives of home. Palliative care patients attended in the Lanari Institute (University of Buenos Aires, Argentina) during 2007-2008. Qualitative data were gathered through unstructured, open ended interviews in the home setting. Quantitative data were collected with a self-completion questionnaire and were analyzed with SPSS (12.01). Three dimensions were evaluated: a) attitudes of the caregiver towards the treatments, b) perceptions of the caregivers of the needs and wishes of the patient and c) evaluation of their own role as caregiver. Four types of informal caregivers were identified: 1) satisfactory carers, based on a well-organized system of relatives and friends involved in the caring situation, 2) potentially vulnerable carers, those involved in situations apparently controlled, but with factors which could trigger a spiral of deterioration, 3) overwhelmed carers, who explicitly express difficulties in being able to achieve the daily goals for the patients´ comfort and 4) isolated carers, composed by lonely wives wishing "not to bother" others.

Palabras clave : Palliative care; Care-givers; Home care; Terminal care.

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