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59 Male Family Carers' Perceptions of Formal Support Services, a Meta-ethnography

Background Family carers provide thousands of hours of unpaid work every year, a third of whom are men, however this group are generally under-represented in research. Comparative studies have shown that male carers experience their caring role differently to female counterparts. Social concepts related to masculinity can help to explain help-seeking behaviours of male carers, as well as their attitudes to accessing outside support. Compared to women carers, men have lower rates of uptake of formal support services. This aim of this review, therefore, was to examine accounts of male carers' experiences and perceptions of receiving formal support. Methods The study followed a meta-ethnography process starting with a systematic literature search of five electronic databases. The methodological quality of the included studies was evaluated using the McMaster checklist. Using NVivo 12 software, primary qualitative data was analysed and key themes were identified. Results were synthesised using Noblit and Hare's (1988) process of meta-ethnography, retaining direct quotes from the studies. Results Eighteen studies were included in the final paper. Three main themes were identified: 1) asserting control over the caring role 2) desire to excel in caring role and 3) coping without formal support. Conclusion For the most part, male carers expressed a desire to be competent in their caring role. Perceived loss of control within the caring relationship was a key factor when men had low trust and dissatisfaction with services. Support services that were collaborative, education-based and gender-sensitive were favoured by the men. To engage more male carers, service providers should acknowledge men's experience and capabilities as well as their wish to stay involved in decision-making around care for their family member. For men over the age of 85 male family carers outnumber females in Ireland (CSO 2016). It is important to understand male carers' experience to develop more inclusive supports and consequently increase service uptake

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Type of Work
Conference paper
Oxford university press
Publication Year
Issue Number
Suppl 3
Journal Titles
Age & Ageing
Volume Number
Start Page
End Page