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Jennifer K Angelo, Richard Egan, Kate Reid
International Journal of Palliative Nursing, Vol. 19, Iss. 8, 23 Aug 2013, pp 383 - 388

Background: Family caregivers are the backbone of the social care delivery system. With cancer and other life-limiting diseases on the rise, the need for well-informed informal/family caregivers has never been greater. Aim: To uncover the information that palliative care teams routinely provide to family caregivers. Design: The methodology used was the nominal group technique, a type of focus group. Participants: A total of 17 community palliative care health professionals participated in one of three focus groups. Results: Three themes emerged as dominant priorities for the education of family caregivers: caring for oneself physically, emotionally, and spiritually; learning practical skills; and knowing what to expect and plan for as the family member's health declines. Conclusions: The participants encourage caregivers to meet their own needs as well as care for family members. They help to empower family caregivers by encouraging them to take time for themselves, providing practical information for individual situations, and educating them on the signs and symptoms of approaching death. Successful terminal home care is possible through family caregiver support and empowerment.

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