Family carers’ experiences of coping with the deaths of adults in home settings : A narrative analysis of carers’ relevant background worries

Thomas, Carol Jane and Turner, Mary and Payne, Sheila Alison and Milligan, Christine and Brearley, Sarah Grace and Seamark, David and Wang, Xu and Blake, Susan (2018) Family carers’ experiences of coping 
with the deaths of adults in home settings : A narrative analysis of carers’ relevant background worries. Palliative Medicine, 32 (5). pp. 950-959. ISSN 0269-2163

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Background: Internationally, evidence on the support needs of family carers who look after a terminally ill adult in home settings is incomplete. Aim: To illustrate the relevance of ‘relevant background worries’ in family carers’ accounts of caring at home for a dying adult. Design: A qualitative cross-sectional observational study was conducted in England, United Kingdom, in 2011–2013 on the experiences of adult family carers (n = 59) of older dying adults (aged 50+ years) with malignant and/or non-malignant conditions. Interviews occurred post-bereavement. This article reports on a subset of participants’ interview transcripts (n = 30) where narrative analysis was undertaken. Setting/participants: Carers were interviewed in their home setting, having been purposively recruited via general practitioner practices in two study sites in England. The subset of participants (n = 30) was purposively selected from the parent sample with reference to carers’ age, relationship to the patient, family circumstances and study sites. Results: Evidence is provided on the importance of what we conceptualise as carers’ ‘relevant background worries’; these varied in nature, significance and impact. Four case studies are presented where these worries constituted psychosocial factors that impacted on caregivers’ actions and emotional well-being. Two themes are discussed: (1) whether relevant background worries are important enough to be identified and responded to and (2) how such worries could be picked up and managed by professionals. Conclusion: It is argued that the quality of clinical practice could be improved if specialist palliative care teams in community contexts both identified and responded to significant support needs associated with family carers’ relevant background worries.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Palliative Medicine
Additional Information:
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Palliative Medicine, 32 (5), 2018, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Palliative Medicine page: on SAGE Journals Online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? palliative careend-of-life carefamily caregivingnarrative methodsnarrative analysishome deathsanesthesiology and pain medicinemedicine(all) ??
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Deposited On:
02 May 2018 12:04
Last Modified:
05 Jan 2024 00:21