Supporting family carers: Identifying differences between urban and rural care at the end of life in Canada 


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Kevin Brazil1
1Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Abstract

Approximately 20% of North Americans and 25% of Europeans are identified as living in rural areas. The provision of palliative care in rural areas has generated interest in several countries. This attention is, in part due to the view that palliative care is now recognized as a basic human right and that individuals prefer to be treated in their own communities and die in their own homes. The issue of geographic inequity in access to palliative care is sharpened with the knowledge of an expected rise of an aging population that will amplify the need for palliative care.

The unique challenges associated with the provision of health care to terminally ill patients in rural settings suggests informal carers assume a greater role than their urban counterparts. Unfortunately little is know about the experience of informal caregiving in rural regions at the end of life. Considering geographic location as place of care this presentation will provide an overview on how the family carer experience is understood in Canada. Key findings from a recently completed study will elucidate the influence of location as place of care. Aspects of the family carer experience that will be reviewed will include; identified support needs, the experience of burden in caregiving, the role of social support, perception of access to formal care; and, the pattern of formal care used by the palliative family member. Implications for policy and service development will be identified.