Palliative family caregivers appear to experience rewards of caregiving concurrent with burdens and negative feelings. Relatively few studies have especially attended to the positive and rewarding aspects in palliative family caregiving. In addition, most studies on rewards are retrospective and examine the experiences of bereaved family caregivers.
This study aimed to describe feelings of rewards among family caregivers during ongoing palliative care. A further aim was to compare experience of rewards in relation to sex.
Palliative family caregivers reported in general high levels of reward. The largest source of rewards was feelings of being helpful to the patient. This was closely followed by rewards as a consequence of giving something to the patients that brought her/him happiness and being there for the patient. The smallest sources of rewards were personally growth, self-satisfaction and personal meaning. There was no association between men and women.
Family caregivers experienced rewards of caregiving during ongoing palliative care despite their unique and stressful situation. Feelings of rewards seem to be about handling the situation in a satisfying way, to feel competent and confident to take care of the patient and thereby feel proud. Support could preferably be designed aiming to improve family caregiver’s ability to care and to facilitate aspects of rewards of caregiving focusing on strengths and resources.
125 family caregivers answered a questionnaire including demographic background questions and the Rewards of Caregiving Scale. Descriptive statistics were used to describe characteristics of the participants and the level of rewards. Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare differences between groups of different sex and age.
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