Psychosocial effects of palliative care-giving on primary care-givers of elderly people with advanced cancers in Manyatta constituency, Embu county, Kenya
Mugendi, Teresia Njeri
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Global statistics show that people providing primary palliative care to cancer victims are faced by different challenges ranging from fear of impending death, economic, social, stigma, loss of function or place in the society, emotional bum-out e.t.c., all of which impact negatively on their emotional wellbeing. The purpose of the study was to investigate psychosocial effects of palliative care-giving on primary palliative care-givers attending elderly people with advanced cancers in Manyatta constituency, Embu County. The study was informed by two theories; Social Role Theory and Transactional Stress Model. The findings of this study helped to recommend counseling intervention measures that may help to curb the perceived psychosocial effects. In this study, descriptive research design was used in order to capture subjective feelings of the respondents. A sample was drawn using purposeful sampling technique. Stratified random sampling was also used to get representative sample of 30 respondents from all administrative division in the Constituency. The data was collected using questionnaires. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and presented in frequency distributions, means, ranks and percentages. Majority of the primary care-givers were spouses of the patients, and their psychosocial needs were financial, training, counseling and social support from other stakeholders. The researcher established that care-giving roles were demanding and exhausting, hence they interfered with normal life causing isolation, anxiety, hostility and hopelessness. However, these roles could also bring positive emotion feelings such as love and intimacy with the patient. The findings of this study may help to identify appropriate interventions strategies that could help to mitigate the psychosocial effects of palliative care-giving on primary care-givers. The researcher recommended that a lot of social support, counseling and basic care-giving training should be given to the primary care-givers to support them. It is also recommended that the palliative care-givers be provided with counseling therapies on regular basis. The knowledge gained from this research is helpful in recommending guidelines that may help in the formulation of appropriate counseling interventions by the Ministry of Health, Hospices, Policy makers, Counselors and other stakeholders working with terminally ill people.