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An Ecological Understanding of Caregiver Experiences in Palliative Care
Palliative Care Institute
  • Casey Shillam, University of Portland
  • Devyani Chandran, Western Washington University
  • Hope Corbin, Western Washington University

Palliative care is specialized health care to improve quality of life for patients with serious illness and their families through prevention and relief of suffering. A Palliative Care Institute was held in western Washington to capture community voices about diverse needs, strengths, and opportunities for improvement of palliative care. Researchers employed qualitative methods to obtain thematic data, provide real-time analysis, and engage in a multivoting technique to reflect stakeholder interest in individual themes and prioritize larger group interests. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems framework was used to explore caregiver experiences. Within the microsystem, caregivers reported difficulties in interactions with medical providers as a key challenge. Within the mesosysytem, interactions between patients and medical providers and the impact on caregivers were explored. Within the exosystem, caregivers reported lack of control over the schedules of personal care staff. Macrosystem influences included impact of local culture on the development of palliative care services. Chronosystem influences include de-medicalization of childbirth and its impact on perceptions of palliative care. Implications include the need for social workers to be proactive in fostering trust and effective communication between care providers and caregivers, and the demand for health care provider training in communication with patients and families.

Document Type
Start Date
4-5-2016 12:00 PM
End Date
4-5-2016 1:00 PM
Subjects – Topical (LCSH)
Caregivers--Attitudes; Physician and patient; Palliative treatment; Patient advocacy; Communication in medicine

Published in the Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care

To cite this article: Devyani Chandran, J. Hope Corbin & Casey Shillam (2016) An Ecological Understanding of Caregiver Experience in Palliative Care, Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care, 12:1-2, 162-183

Citation Information
Casey Shillam, Devyani Chandran and Hope Corbin. "An Ecological Understanding of Caregiver Experiences in Palliative Care" (2016)
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