The Social Networks of Terminally III Skid Road Residents: An Analysis

Authors

  • Barbara Burns McGrath

    Corresponding author
    1. Lecturer, Yale School of Nursing, New Haven, Connecticut
      Address correspondence to: Barbara Burns McGrath, R.N., M.A., Yale School of Nursing, Yale University, 855 Howard Avenue, PO Box 3333, New Haven, CT 06510.
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Address correspondence to: Barbara Burns McGrath, R.N., M.A., Yale School of Nursing, Yale University, 855 Howard Avenue, PO Box 3333, New Haven, CT 06510.

Abstract

With the progression of a terminal illness, a person's need for resources and social support increases. Recently developed home care programs, based on the hospice philosophy, depend heavily on active participation by the family's network in delivering care. This model is based on a middle-class orientation to family relationships. Persons with nontraditional lifestyles are at high risk for being placed in an institution when they are unable to care for themselves. Social network analysis was used to assess the supportive aspects of networks that have potential for caregiving during the terminal phase of a disease. Eight men with lung cancer who resided in Seattle's Skid Road were interviewed to obtain demographic, social network, and support data. Descriptive statistics and content analysis were used to analyze the data. The men in this study shared many similarities in lifestyle and had small, highly dense networks. Although it was of a limited nature, social support did exist within the networks analyzed.

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