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Exploring the experiences of family caregivers with people with drug-resistant tuberculosis

Background: The South African health system faces major challenges: crumbling infrastructure, shortage of beds and health professionals, and a high burden of diseases such as Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. The emergence of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis has made matters worse, as some of the burden of care for patients was transferred from nurses at hospitals to families in communities after patient discharge. Objective: This study explores and describes experiences of family caregivers caring for family members with Drug Resistant Tuberculosis living at home. Methods: The data from purposively selected family caregivers, caring for family members living with Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, were collected through in-depth interviews using a pretested interview guide. Saturation was reached at the 11th interview. All interviews were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim, analysed using Tech’s Eight Steps for Data Analysis, and emerging themes reported. Findings: Three themes that emerged were: issues in relation to provision of care, caregiver’s attitudes towards caregiving, and community attitudes and practices towards family caregivers. The study showed that respondents experienced challenges such as buying and preparing of nutritious food, attending to hygiene needs and management of treatment of side effects. Poverty, finance and time were barriers to caregiving roles. Participants experienced physical and psychological exhaustion, social exclusion, and stigmatisation. Conclusions: There is a need to increase coverage of the Ward-Based Outreach Teams and Community Healthcare Workers, and intensification of TB and HIV/AIDS health education in communities. Training and education on infection control, palliative treatment, and home-based medical care should be provided to families before a patient is discharged. Stakeholder relations need to be improved and collaboration fostered. 

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Journal article
Taylor & Francis
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Cogent Social Sciences
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