End-of-Life Caregiver Social Support Activation: The Roles of Hospice Clinicians and Professionals

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Abstract

Caregivers of those with life-limiting illness face many complicated tasks, including providing direct patient care, communicating with professionals, and managing the logistical demands of daily activities. To assist with caregiving responsibilities, caregivers require social support from social network members at all points in the illness process. This study analyzes themes from interviews with 61 caregivers of patients enrolled in hospice services to identify the types of support caregivers mobilize from new social network members for social support during the end-of-life care process. Themes indicate that caregivers receive accessible, immediate, caregiver-centered emotional support from hospice health care professionals, and situationally tailored, understandable informational support from other types of professionals. In addition, caregivers received overlapping emotional and informational support from hospice health care professionals. Findings enhance the understanding of how caregivers receive tailored emotional and informational support.

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