Eleni Epiphaniou, David Hamilton, Susanne Bridger, Vicky Robinson, George Rob, Teresa Beynon, Irene Higginson, Richard Harding

International Journal of Palliative Nursing, Vol. 18, Iss. 11, 23 Nov 2012, pp 541 - 545

Background: Although informal end-of-life care is associated with significant physical and psychological morbidity for caregivers, few interventions have been developed to meet these needs. This study aimed to identify existing coping and support mechanisms among informal cancer caregivers in order to inform intervention development. Method: One-to-one semi-structured qualitative interviews were undertaken with 20 informal cancer caregivers of home palliative care patients. Results: Caregivers' existing coping strategies included distraction, mental stimulation, emotional release, looking for the positive aspects of caregiving, and disengaging from stressful thoughts. The majority of the participants described the importance of support and understanding from family and friends. Conclusions: The data suggests that feasible and acceptable interventions will be those that are targeted to caregivers to assist them in optimising existing coping strategies and support from family and friends.

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