Experience of palliative home care according to caregivers' and patients' ages in Hong Kong Chinese people

C W Chan, A M Chang
Oncology Nursing Forum 2000, 27 (10): 1601-5

PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To identify the relationship between family caregivers' reported difficulty in managing caregiver tasks and ages of caregivers and patients.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional, descriptive survey.

SETTING: A hospice homecare program in Hong Kong.

SAMPLE: Twenty-nine Chinese family caregivers who had experienced at least weekly caregiving responsibility for more than two months and were able to read and understand Chinese.

METHODS: Respondents completed a caregiver task inventory. Four homecare nurses assisted in the distribution and collection of questionnaires.

MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Caregiver tasks and age and patient age.

FINDINGS: Caregivers' age was negatively correlated with reported difficulty in overall tasks and in interpersonal ties. The patients' age was negatively correlated with reported difficulty in direct care to patients, intrapersonal tasks, and overall tasks.

CONCLUSIONS: The younger the caregiver, the more difficulty he or she experienced in the caregiving role, particularly in the maintenance of social and family ties. Caregivers of younger patients experienced more difficulty in most aspects of caregiving tasks. More research with a larger sample size is required to fully investigate the effect of age on the family caregiving experience and the validity of the caregiver task inventory.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Nursing support and preparation to younger caregivers and caregivers of younger patients are suggested in the practice of palliative home care.

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