Being next of kin to an elderly person with cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: The aim of the study was to illuminate the experience of life as next of kin to an elderly person with cancer. Background: Being next of kin to an elderly person with cancer and its impact on everyday life has been sparsely researched. Such understanding is needed to support both the sufferers and their relatives in dealing with issues arising after a cancer diagnosis in old age. Design: A qualitative study was used to illuminate the experience of next of kin of elderly people with cancer. Method: In total, 16 (mean age 61, range 42-80) persons were interviewed. Open-ended interviews were used to get closer to their experiences. Manifest and latent content analysis were used. Findings: Two main categories, Transformations of roles and Changed frames of mind, were identified, as well as four subcategories. The study showed that the cancer activated perceptions in the next of kin about ageing and growing old. The onset of the disease was a turning point, i.e. the disease highlighted that the patient had become old and the combination of this and the disease reinforced the negative image of old age in general. The next of kin found that the diagnosis of cancer was followed by role changes within the family. It awoke feelings of anger and doubt and made the next of kin stop and think about what is really important in life. Conclusion: With the onset of a serious illness, all next of kin are greatly affected in many ways but especially by changes in their roles, without, however, being prepared. The phenomenon of time seems to have significant meaning to the next of kin, although it may be perceived differently from the perspective of healthcare professionals than from that of next of kin.

Details

Authors
  • Bente Appel Esbensen
  • Bibbi Thomé
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nursing

Keywords

  • elderly with cancer, next of kin, experience, caring, roles, content, analysis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)648-654
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Volume24
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Oncology, MV (013035000), Division of Nursing (Closed 2012) (013065000)