Munday D, Lovatt M, Roberts J, Nanton V, Noble B, Ingleton C, Pitt E & Seers K (2013) Receiving end of life care at home: experiences of the bereaved carers of cancer patients cared for by health care assistants. Dimbleby Cancer Care.
First paragraph: Many terminally ill cancer patients and their families prefer for death to occur at home rather than in an institution where the majority of care falls to the patient’s family and friends. As death approaches caring can become an increasing burden for the patient’s informal carers. This issue has long been recognized by health care professionals and also in current policy for end of life care, with the End of Life Care Strategy for England (DH, 2008) highlighting the need for community services to enable home death by supporting both patient and their family carers. Basic nursing, social and respite home care has frequently been provided by basically trained, unqualified nursing staff, including auxiliary nurses and health care assistants (HCA). Whilst increasing research has been undertaken into the needs of family carers (Stajduhar et al, 2010; Funk et al 2010), relatively little has focused on the care HCAs deliver (Herber & Johnston 2012) and very few studies have explored the experience of bereaved family carers of patients who have received such services.