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  2. Caring precariously: An interpretive description of palliative care and welfare worker perspectives on end of life carers navigating social welfare

Caring precariously: An interpretive description of palliative care and welfare worker perspectives on end of life carers navigating social welfare

Background: Caring at end-of-life is associated with financial burden, economic disadvantage, and psychosocial sequelae. Health and social welfare systems play a significant role in coordinating practical resources and support in this context. However, little is known about social policy and interactions with public institutions that shape experiences of informal carers with social welfare needs at end-of-life. Aim: To explore ways in which palliative care and welfare sector workers perceive and approach experiences and needs of the carers of people with life-limiting illnesses who receive government income support or housing assistance, in an area of recognised socioeconomic disadvantage. Design: An interpretive descriptive study employed in-depth, qualitative interviews to explore participants’ reflections on working with carers of someone with a life-limiting illness. Data were analysed using the framework approach. Setting/participants: Twenty-one workers employed within three public services in Western Sydney were recruited. Results: Workers articulated understandings of welfare policy and its consequences for carers at end-of-life, including precariousness in relation to financial and housing circumstances. Identified resources and barriers to the navigation of social welfare needs by carers were categorised as personal, interpersonal and structural. Conclusions: Caring at end-of-life while navigating welfare needs was seen to be associated with precariousness by participants, particularly for carers positioned in vulnerable social locations. Findings highlighted experiences of burdensome system navigation, inconsistent processes and inequity. Further exploration of structural determinants of experience is needed, including aspects of palliative care and welfare practice and investment in inter-agency infrastructure for supporting carers at end-of-life.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
Type of Work
Journal article
Publisher
Sage
ISBN/ISSN
1477-030X
Publication Year
2021
Issue Number
17
Journal Titles
Palliative Medicine
Volume Number
35
Start Page
169
End Page
178