How informal carers cope with terminal cancer
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How informal carers cope with terminal cancer

Karen Rose Nursing Fellow (Research), School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting, University of Manchester

This article reports selected findings from a qualitative study of informal carers The study focused on people caring for relatives with terminal cancer and the findings reported here reflect how they cope with their relative’s pain and medication. The author recommends that nurses involve carers in the decision making process to alleviate the stress carers experience and utilise their specialist knowledge of the patient

Although caring is not necessarily a negative experience (Dawson 1991, Grant and Nolan 1993), it is undoubtedly stressful (Nolan et al 1990). In the light of government policy to shift care away from institutions and into the community (Parliamentary Select Committee on Community Care 1993), understanding the stressors and problems which informal carers may encounter is essential for healthcare professionals. As Orford (1987) suggested, many of these stressors and problems are common to informal carers irrespective of the disease from which the patient is suffering. Although this article concentrates on the carers of terminally ill cancer patients, it is important to accept that much of what is reported may be applicable to carers in other situations.

Nursing Standard. 11, 30, 39-42. doi: 10.7748/ns.11.30.39.s43

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