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Olson, R. E.

Towards a sociology of cancer caregiving: Time to feel

Once a synonym for death, cancer is now a prognosis of multiple probabilities and produces a world of uncertainty for carers. Drawing on rich, in-depth interview data and employing interactionist theories, Towards a Sociology of Cancer Caregiving explores carers' lived experiences, paying close attention to the ways in which spouse carers manage the ambiguity that pervades their orientations to the future, their responsibilities and their emotions.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:23

Is cancer care dependent on informal carers?

Over the past half century, medical care has become less institutionalised, more autonomous, equitable and less costly. This has led to a shift from hospital-based delivery to community care. This paper examines the experiences of Canberra-based carers following this shift using interview data from a longitudinal qualitative study of 32 informal carers of a spouse with cancer. Cancer patients experienced poorly coordinated care. When carers observed the effects of errors and miscommunication on patients, they felt compelled to coordinate patient care.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:19

When they don't die: Prognosis ambiguity, role conflict and emotion work in cancer caregiving

Informal carers of cancer patients have high rates of burden, stress, anxiety and unmet needs; yet, some describe caregiving as fulfilling. Building on the work of Thomas and colleagues, this study takes a sociology of emotions approach to understanding variations in carers of cancer patients' emotional experiences, using interview data with 32 carers of a spouse with cancer. Analysis indicates that a clearly terminal (negative) prognosis facilitates clear priorities, unambiguous emotion management and improved social bonds.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:15

A time-sovereignty approach to understanding carers of cancer patients' experiences and support preferences

Much of the literature on informal carers of cancer patients is quantitative and psycho-oncology based. This literature has established that cancer carers experience higher rates of stress, depression and anxiety than their non-caregiving counterparts, with younger female carers reporting higher rates of burden and unmet needs. The reasons behind this variation and variations in support preferences are poorly understood: some carers prefer support groups and others prefer practical support. This study takes a sociological approach to exploring carers' varied experiences.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:13

Exploring identity in the 'figured worlds' of cancer care-giving and marriage in Australia

Following changes in the structure and funding of the Australian medical system, patients have become consumers' or clients'. Family and friends have become carers' or caregivers', signifying their increased responsibilities as patients move from hospitals to communities. While policy makers embrace the term carer', some argue that the title is not widely recognised and has disempowering connotations. This paper examines spouses' reflections on the term carer' based on qualitative interviews with 32 Australians caring for a spouse with cancer from a study conducted between 2006 and 2009.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:12