Experiences of Rural Family Caregivers Who Assist With Commuting for Palliative Care

Sharon J. Lockie, Joan L. Bottorff, Carole A. Robinson, Barbara Pesut

Abstract


Commuting for advanced cancer care is an important option for rural patients who require palliative treatment. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to investigate the experiences of rural family palliative caregivers (FPCs) who supported advanced cancer patients receiving palliative treatment at a regional cancer centre. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 FPCs (27-73 years of age) who commuted with family members. Rural life, the multiple responsibilities borne by FPCs, the availability of support networks, and the culture of the regional cancer centre were all relevant contextual factors. The dedication of FPCs to making the commuting experience as positive as possible for the patient was the central theme. Subthemes were planning ahead to prepare for all possibilities, experiences on the road, the toll of commuting on FPCs, and making the best of it. The authors offer recommendations for self-care, nursing practice, and future research.

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