Home care for terminally ill patients: The experiences of family caregivers with and without paid work

Femmy M. Bijnsdorp*, Allard J. Van Der Beek, H. Roeline W. Pasman, Cécile R.L. Boot, Alice H. De Boer, Inger Plaisier, Bregje D. Onwuteaka-Philipsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: To facilitate care at the end of life at home, support from family caregivers is crucial. A substantial number of these family caregivers also work. Work in relation to care for terminally ill patients has received limited attention. To better understand the context in which these family caregivers provide care, we provide a detailed overview of the situation and experiences of family caregivers of terminally ill patients at home, with and without paid work. Methods: We used a pooled cross-section of data from the Dutch Informal Care Study, collected in 2014 and 2016. All working and non-working family caregivers of terminally ill patients at home were included (n=292). Results: Working family caregivers reported more care tasks, and shared care tasks with others more often than non-working caregivers. No differences between working and non-working caregivers were found in negative and positive experiences. Non-working caregivers provided care more often because the care recipient wanted to be helped by them or because there was no one else available than working caregivers. About 70% of the working caregivers were able to combine work and family caregiving successfully. Conclusions: Working and non-working family caregivers of terminally ill patients at home have similar burden and positive experiences. Working family caregivers vary in their ability to combine work and care. Although the majority of working family caregivers successfully combine work and care, a substantial number struggle and need more support with care tasks at home or responsibilities at work.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Supportive and Palliative Care
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2019

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