Improving the wellbeing of family carers

Categories: In The Media.

The article describes work by the Centre for Palliative Care in Melbourne, Australia – part of St Vincent’s Hospital and a Collaborative Centre of The University of Melbourne – to develop a program of evidence-based strategies to help carers prepare for and manage the role of supporting a relative with a life-threatening illness.

Family carers provide valuable support to those who are dying, and in many cases it would not be possible for people to realise their wish of dying at home without this informal support. However, providing care to a family member or friend is often demanding, and can take it toll on carers’ physical and mental wellbeing, as well causing financial worries.

The World Health Organization advocates that palliative care should not only improve the quality of life for patients but also for their families.

Talking to The Age, Professor Peter Hudson, Director of the Centre for Palliative Care, said: “Despite a mandate for health professionals to support family carers of patients with advanced, incurable disease, in many instances such support is inadequate.

“Family carers’ psychological needs are frequently considered secondary to those of the patient or overlooked and there is neither consistency nor a systematic approach to assessing needs. The burden of providing such support is high, with up to 50% of family carers suffering emotional distress.”

Read the full article in The Age.

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