The Lived Experience of Providing Care and Support Services for Holocaust Survivors in Australia

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Abstract

Lack of awareness among paid carers of the possible late-life consequences of early-life periods of extreme and prolonged traumatization may have negative impacts on the experiences of trauma survivors in receiving care. An interpretive phenomenological approach was used to investigate the lived experience of paid carers in providing care for Jewish Holocaust survivors. In total, 70 carers participated in 10 focus group discussions. Credibility of the findings was ensured by methodological triangulation and peer debriefing. Three major themes emerged: (a) knowing about survivors’ past helps me make sense of who they are, (b) the trauma adds an extra dimension to caregiving, and (c) caring for survivors has an emotional impact. Specific knowledge, attitudes, and skills for building positive care relationships with Holocaust survivors were identified. The findings offer a starting point for advancing knowledge about the care of older survivors from other refugee backgrounds.

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