Informal caregivers of HIV/AIDS-infected family members - a qualitative study of experiences of hospice staff in a rural area, South Africa
Abstract: As the number of individuals and households affected by HIV/AIDS multiplies in South Africa, the impact of the epidemic both widens and deepens. As a complement to the formal system of health care, an informal health care has emerged. These informal caregivers, often elderly parents, constitute a national health resource, but they are also a vulnerable population and the care that they provide is unlikely to be costfree. The aim of this study was to illuminate the situation of elderly people in a rural area, South Africa, as informal caregivers of HIV/AIDS-infected family members. The method used was qualitative and data was collected through a focus group interview with staff at a HIV/AIDS hospice. Adaptation and analysis was accomplished as a systemativ coding by thematic content analysis. the analysis emerged in two themes; A struggle handling a situation of mixed feelings, difficulties and cultural believes, and A situation constituted be constant needs. The result shows that cultural believes and traditions have great impact in the elderly informal caregivers' lives. Their situation is constituted of mixed feelings, lack of knowledge, physical, practical, financial and psychological difficulties. Hereby a huge need of information, education, help and support was found.
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