The legitimacy of rest: conditions for the relief of burden in advanced dementia care-giving

Authors


C. de la Cuesta-Benjumea: e-mail: ccuesta@ua.es

Abstract

de la cuesta-benjumea c. (2010) The legitimacy of rest: conditions for the relief of burden in advanced dementia care-giving. Journal of Advanced Nursing66(5), 988–998.

Abstract

Title. The legitimacy of rest: conditions for the relief of burden in advanced dementia care-giving.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to identify the conditions that favour the relief of the burden of female caregivers of relatives with advanced dementia.

Background.  Respite services are a response to caregivers’ needs for rest. Although they are wanted and needed services, caregivers do not always have access to or use them. The need for a caregiver-centred approach to relieving the burden of care is a conclusion which respite researchers are increasingly reaching.

Method.  Grounded theory was chosen as the research strategy. Twenty-two female primary caregivers of relatives with advanced dementia participated in semi-structured interviews between November 2006 and May 2008 in Spain. Data collection was guided by the emergent analysis and ceased when no more relevant variations in the categories were found.

Findings.  While having a rest is legislated as a right in civil and religious laws in family care in Spain, it should meet certain conditions that in the caregiver’s eyes legitimate it. In the present study these were: (i) when there is no abandonment, (ii) when others are not harmed, (iii) when having a rest is obligatory and (iv) when having a rest is acknowledged.

Conclusion.  Many caregivers experience ambivalence over accepting respite. Nurses should assess caregivers’ situations and promote context-specific interventions and a relief of burden free from guilt. Exploration of the conditions that favour the relief of burden within other cultural and caregiver groups is recommended.

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