- Research in Gerontological Nursing
- January 2012 - Volume 5 · Issue 1: 6-15
Older adults dying from chronic illness in rural areas are understudied and of concern because of their limited access to health services. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to describe the perspectives of primary family caregivers regarding experiences with formal and informal care at the end of life for dying older adults in one rural, agricultural county. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 23 caregivers following the death of an older relative. Major themes that emerged from the data were the benefits and challenges associated with care services. Benefits included neighbors, friends, and other volunteers who offered household help and provided respite care. Challenges included limited resources for continuity of care, geographical service boundaries, and lack of knowledge about end-of-life care by paid caregivers. Further research that addresses the perspective of rural service providers is needed to better understand the benefits and challenges of end-of-life care in this setting.
Dr. Hansen and Dr. Cartwright are Associate Professors, Oregon Health & Science University, and Dr. Craig is Associate Dean and Professor, University of Portland, Portland, Oregon.
The authors disclose that they have no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity. This research was funded by a grant from Betty Gray Rural Health Development Fund at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland.
Address correspondence to Lissi Hansen, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, Oregon Health & Science University, SN-6S, 3455 SW U.S. Veterans Hospital Road, Portland, OR 97239-7783; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Received: May 18, 2011
Accepted: November 29, 2011
Posted Online: December 29, 2011