The purpose of this research was to clarify the psychological specificity of the situation where healthcare professionals (physicians, nurses, nursing assistants) have to provide care for their seriously ill parents. The hypothesis is that this situation creates a paradoxical duality which can have important personal and familial consequences, but also an impact on occupational behavior, affecting the relationship between the family and the attending healthcare team, or eventually altering institutional relationships when the patient is treated in the center where his/her child works. We present the results of a survey collecting information on interactions between family caregivers (healthcare professionals providing care for their parents) and attending professionals. Our results show the paradoxical situation of these caregivers, a situation which varies greatly depending on a large number of factors. The interpretation of these results and the ensuing discussion should be helpful in developing certain adjustments in situations where the family caregiver is also a healthcare professional. © 2009 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
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