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Previous studies about family caregivers of terminally ill persons with cancer in Thailand focused on primary caregivers individually. In order to promote family well-being, it is essential to explore how individuals’ construct the perspective of the family as a unit in caregiving. This study aimed to gain an understanding of the experiences of family members in caring for terminally ill persons with cancer in the Thai cultural context. The design was a qualitative focused ethnography. Purposive sampling was used to recruit 30 individuals from 13 families. Data were generated through participant observation and in-depth interviews and were analyzed using thematic analysis.
Participants discussed how family values and shared expectations were reflected in their caregiving practices as a family. Experiences of Thai families in caring were reflected in two major themes: 1) promoting comfort and preparing for a peaceful death by respecting the patient’s wishes, valuing patients as dearly loved, understanding death is a natural law in life, performing religious activities to compensate bad karma, and arranging a calm environment, and 2) mutually managing care by providing care wholeheartedly, reprioritizing life plans, sharing responsibilities for caring, and managing family finances. These findings provide essential information to understand how individual family members work as a unit in caregiving practices. Understanding the experiences of family members in caring for terminally ill persons with cancer can contribute to the further development of health care services for promoting family well-being.
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