The carer experience in end-of-life cancer caregiving: a discussion of the literature
Cancer Council Australia
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine / WA Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care
Research into the experience of unpaid caregiving has been growing since the 1980s with the introduction of 'community care' policies in Australia and in olher Western societies. There is now a large body of research that sheds light on various aspects of the experience of cancer end-of-life caregiving. The aim of this article is to explore what is known about the roles, needs. adverse impacts and concerns of family caregivers providing care to advanced cancer patients at the end of life. Reviewed literature, published between 1990 and 2010, focused on end-of-life cancer caring in the home, but includes in-patient palliative care interventions. Where relevant, general end-of-life caregiving literature to supplement Ihe cancer specific research is included. Five major dimensions of Ihe end-of-life cancer carer experience are idenlified: the end-of-life cancer carer role, impacl of end-of-life caregiving; positive aspecls of caregiving; carer perceptions of need; and access to palliative care.