Published: 09-04-2016 10:53 | Updated: 02-05-2016 10:24

Psycho-educational intervention supports family caregivers in specialized palliative home care – new thesis

Family caregivers often face a great responsibility in today’s health care and are in need of information and guidens. The psycho-educational intervention, presented in a new thesis by Maja Holm – PhD student at the Division of Nursing, supports family caregivers in specialized palliative home care.

Dissertation on May 29, see further information here.

Maja Holm. Foto: Robert Fred.What´s the main focus of your thesis?

The main focus of the thesis has been to develop and test a psycho-educational intervention for family caregivers in the context of specialized palliative home care. Family caregivers often face a great responsibility in today’s health care, for which they may be insufficiently prepared. Hence, they are in need of information and support. The intervention has been delivered by health professionals at 10 palliative care settings as a randomized controlled trial. The intervention has also been qualitatively studied through interviews and focus group discussions.

Which are the most important results?

Taken together, qualitative and quantitative results showed that the psycho-educational intervention could be an instrument to better prepare family caregivers for caregiving both in short-term and long-term. Family caregivers described the program as positive and interesting. Both professionals and family caregivers experienced that it could bring them closer and improve the communication between them. Health professionals played a key role both in the inviting to and delivering the intervention to family caregivers. However, it was important that health professionals were given appropriate time and resources to be able to work with the intervention in a successful way.

How can this new knowledge be useful for people, or contribute to improvement of their health?

Patients in palliative care are increasingly being cared for at home with the help of family caregivers, and the intervention could be an important part of the health professional support to family caregivers. The intervention could help family caregivers to become better prepared, which has been associated with positive outcomes and less negative consequences. Because the intervention was delivered with the help of a manual, it could facilitate the implementation in other palliative care settings.

What´s in the future for you? Will you keep on conducting research?

I am planning to stay at home with my little son until this autumn.

After that, we still have a lot of data to analyze in the project, especially another follow-up that was sent to family caregivers after the death of the patient to investigate possible effects of the intervention. We are currently preparing for an application that will hopefully allow me to keep working with this research.

The thesis

Promoting preparedness for family caregiving – a randomised controlled intervention in palliative care