Care-giving as a Canadian-Vietnamese tradition: ‘It's like eating, you just do it’

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine how Vietnamese family caregivers (FCGs) perceive, manage and experience end-of-life care-giving for seriously ill family members. Using an instrumental case study design, this longitudinal qualitative research employed the use of cultural brokers/language interpreters to help ensure that the research was conducted in a culturally-appropriate manner. Participants (n = 18) discussed their experiences of care-giving within the context of a traditional cultural framework, which was found to influence their motivations and approaches to care-giving, as well as their propensities towards the use of various supports and services. The study was carried out in southern Ontario, Canada, and participants were providing home-based care-giving in the community. Data were collected throughout 2010 and 2011. The ways in which care-giving was perceived and expressed are reflected in three themes: (i) Natural: identity and care work; (ii) Intentional: whole-person care; and (iii) Intensive: standards, struggle and the context of care. This research confirms the need for culturally-appropriate services and supports while illustrating that Vietnamese FCGs not only value, but are also likely to use healthcare and social services if they are language-accessible, built on trust and demonstrate respect for their values as individuals, regardless of culture.

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