Living through end-stage dementia: The experiences and expressed needs of family carers

  • Shanley C
  • Russell C
  • Middleton H
 et al. 
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The focus of this paper is the experiences and needs of family carers of people with end-stage dementia. The project involved in-depth, qualitative interviews with 15 carers. The major themes emerging from the accounts of participants’ experiences were: getting support; having to trust others with care; managing the loneliness of being a carer; witnessing a loved one fade away; anticipating and experiencing death; and re-establishing life after the funeral. Carers expressed a range of instrumental and psychosocial needs. The study has provided a more personal account of the caring experience than much of the related literature. It has emphasized the need of carers for genuine understanding and connection — from family and friends as well as healthcare staff. The study highlights the amount of support carers can provide to each other through support groups and associated friendships, and stresses the importance of healthcare staff acknowledging and respecting this capacity of carers.

Author-supplied keywords

  • carer needs
  • end-stage dementia
  • psychosocial support
  • qualitative research

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  • Chris Shanley

  • Cherry Russell

  • Heather Middleton

  • Virginia Simpson-Young

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