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  2. Empowering Families to Take on a Primary Caregiver Role for Patients with Cancer in India: Promising Strategies, Persistent Challenges, and Tradeoffs (SCI928)

Empowering Families to Take on a Primary Caregiver Role for Patients with Cancer in India: Promising Strategies, Persistent Challenges, and Tradeoffs (SCI928)

Objectives: 1. Identify the challenges and trade-offs for family members assuming a primary caregiving role to patients with cancer nearing the end of life in India. 2. Consider strategies for supporting family members assuming a primary palliative caregiving role in India. Background As the population on the Indian subcontinent is aging, so too is the incidence of cancer and the need for access to palliative care. Research Objectives Identify provider perspectives on empowering patient family members to assume a palliative caregiving role. Methods: This is a secondary analysis from the PC-PAICE (Palliative Care- Promoting Access & International Cancer Experience) study where we captured the perspectives of 44 interdisciplinary providers from 7 geographically diverse palliative care sites throughout India using a semi-structured interview guide. We identified emergent themes using qualitative content analysis methods with team consensus. Results: Theme 1: Challenge: Cultural beliefs exist that handing off or sharing any primary caregiving is a "sin" and "if they don't take care of the patient then they have done some mistake." Theme 2: Trade-off: Caregivers are overwhelmed with navigating the expectation to take on the caregiver role, when they feasibly cannot, given financial and time constraints. Theme 3: Strategies: Facilitate caregiver buy-in to the idea of palliative care includes linking caregivers to financial resources (e.g. NGO sponsored income-earning opportunities "conduct rehabilitation camps where they teach the patient or the family to make some products"), connecting caregivers to mental health support, and working with caregivers in accommodating other constraints. Conclusion: In India, family members are already primed with the expectation to assume the role of palliative caregiver; this expectation in the face of financial constraints creates a challenging situation for caregivers. Implications for Research, Policy, or Practice: Striking the right balance of what family caregivers in India take on requires acknowledging the trade-offs they might make in other parts of their lives, empowering them through training and linkage to resources, and facilitating a cultural shift to accept palliative care or help from others. Future work should explore these provider themes in interviews with caregivers and patients themselves.

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Journal Of Pain And Symptom Management
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