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An Environmental Scan of Caregiver Support Resources Provided by Hospice Organizations

Background: Informal caregiver support programs offered by hospice organizations support the health and wellbeing of clients and caregivers. However, an understanding of the best practices for informal caregiver support programs currently undertaken across Canada remains unknown, particularly across the province of British Columbia. Aim: The aim of the present study was to describe what existing resources and supports are provided by hospice organizations for informal caregivers of persons who are nearing end of life or who are recently bereaved in British Columbia, Canada. Methods: In this descriptive study, two thirds of hospice organizations (N = 42/66; 26 urban, 16 rural) participated in a semi-structured telephone interview focused on informal caregiver support programs. All interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed thematically and descriptive statistics were employed. Findings: While no one-size-fit-all caregiver support program emerged as a gold standard across all hospice organizations, nearly two thirds (n = 26/42) offered one or more informal caregiver support programs. Four categories of caregiver support programs emerged from the data analysis, including companioning, bereavement and grief supports, education and service supports, and respite for caregivers. Conclusion: Caregiver support programs are a valuable service provided by some but not all hospice organizations across British Columbia, Canada. Future studies are needed to determine best methods for hospice organizations to formally assess caregivers’ needs and to determine the success and effectiveness of such programs in support of program expansion and evaluation.

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Journal article
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Journal of Palliative Care
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