ecancermedicalscience

Policy

An examination of advanced cancer caregivers’ support provided by staff interventions at hospices in Argentina

27 Nov 2012
Natalia Luxardo, Eugenia Brage, Cynthia Alvarado

The aim of the study was to describe the type of intervention provided by hospice staff in order to address the pragmatic, psycho-social, and spiritual needs of home-caregivers for patients in the last stage of cancer. The qualitative inquiry was carried out in real life contexts. The explicit demands that caregivers (n = 40) identified in the first interviews were: (1) helping to organize the care of the patient at home; (2) unspecific demands, with unclear or unrealistic purposes (e.g., curative treatment or a miracle expected to occur); (3) specific resources (such as formal caregivers to replace them), and (4) a place to leave the patient either for a temporary period (a respite for the family) or in a permanent way. The main issues discussed were the delays in the patients’ referral to the hospice and the lack of time for long-term interventions; explicit focus is placed on the care by addressing the spiritual and emotional needs of caregivers, unlike in hospital settings where professionals avoid discussions of spiritual needs due to a lack of time, inadequate training and poor understanding of spirituality; hospices’ interventions are based upon an ethos similar to the movement’s original Christian spirit with emphasis placed on qualities of care such as love, charity, and compassion besides expertise and end-of-life competence, all while tolerating a sense of abandonment by health and social security systems following the patient’s referral.


Keywords: family caregiver; end-of-life care; hospice support

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