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The lived experience of being a caregiver for a family member with a terminal illness




caregivers, terminal care, caregiver perspectives

Abstract (summary)

Family Caregivers are the invisible healthcare providers within our society, comprising a substantial portion of the population, with 1 in 4 Canadians stepping into this role at some point in their lives. Often, when we hear of death, our first instinct is to avoid its path, but for caregivers of terminally ill loved ones, confronting mortality is an unavoidable reality. Caring for a terminally ill family member carries unique challenges and responsibilities and places significant demands on caregivers, who play a vital yet often overlooked role. Despite their indispensable role, caregivers' experiences are not fully understood, and nurses lack the necessary tools and knowledge to support them adequately. We will be exploring the lived experiences and responsibilities of caregivers for terminally ill family members, shedding light on the physical, emotional, and financial burdens they bear. Through a comprehensive exploration of the literature, we will uncover caregivers' multifaceted roles, from providing physical care and emotional support to serving as advocates and decision-makers. We will then discuss the profound impact of caregiving demands on caregivers' physical and mental health. By gaining a deeper understanding of their experiences, we can better equip healthcare professionals and the healthcare system to meet family caregivers' needs. Additionally, this research allows us to examine how we may address the system to support this population. Given that anyone may find themselves in a caregiving position at some point in their lives, this topic holds profound implications for all individuals, making it an imperative area of study and intervention.

Publication Information



Presented on April 19, 2024 at Student Research Day held at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta.

Item Type

Student Presentation



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