South African Family Practice

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Validating that palliative care giving is a stressful occupation: the case of the Kanye community home-based care programme, Botswana

SM Kang’ethe


Background: It remains an incontrovertible fact that the phenomenon of HIV/AIDS has not only posed major health and development challenges, but is also a stressor experienced at local, regional and global levels. This article explores the stressrelated challenges facing volunteer palliative caregivers in the Kanye community home-based care (CHBC) programme.
Methods: The study was explorative in nature and qualitative in design, and used convenience sampling methodologies to involve 82 registered primary caregivers and the five CHBC nurses in the programme as research participants. Participant observation was also used.
Results: The study found the following aspects inherent in care giving to be immensely stressful and challenging:
• Heavy caseload of the caregivers;
• Ageing of the caregivers;
• Stigma and discrimination abound in care giving;
• Conflict between caregivers and clients;
• Poor state of referral networks;
• Inadequate care packages;
• Poverty of the caregivers themselves; and
• Inadequate food, psychological support and community support networks.
Conclusion: The study recommends that putting in place a favourable working atmosphere and environment to address the stresses and stressors of care giving would be pivotal to improve this occupation.
AJOL African Journals Online