A Singapore study of family caregivers of the terminally ill suggests that self-determination is the key factor that can protect them from caregiver burden - a negative state impacting a carer's wellbeing. The study, conducted by a team of NTU psychologists through interviews with 20 family caregivers, revealed that they tend to be motivated and satisfied in their caregiving when they have built up self-determination. This is defined by the researchers as becoming competent in caregiving related tasks, gaining a strong sense of kinship with both the patient and other family members, and taking control and ownership of their caregiving responsibilities.
Principal investigator of the study Assoc Prof Andy Ho from the Psychology program at the NTU School of Social Sciences, said, "Policymakers and healthcare professionals often focus on the hardware for family caregivers, such as healthcare subsidies and proper lift-and-carry techniques. While it is undoubtedly beneficial to relieve family caregivers of those tangible stressors, our findings serve as a reminder that the 'heartware' is equally important too. The internal beliefs, values and goals of family caregivers are ultimately what give them the strength to sustain themselves positively and embrace the caregiving journey when the going gets tough." Therapists and those in the palliative care service can use insights from the study to develop programs aimed at boosting self-determination of family caregivers of the terminally ill.
Read the news release here.