Challenges and Strategies for Hospice Caregivers: A Qualitative Analysis

Debra Parker Oliver, George Demiris, Karla T. Washington, Carlyn Clark, Deborah Thomas-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Purpose: Family caregivers of hospice patients are responsible for the day-to-day care of their loved ones during the final months of life. They are faced with numerous challenges. The purpose of this study was to understand the challenges and coping strategies used by hospice caregivers as they care for their family members. Design: This study is a secondary analysis of data from an attention control group in a large randomized controlled trial testing a cognitive behavioral intervention with hospice caregivers. Methods: Audiotaped interviews were coded with initial themes and combined into final categories of caregiving challenges and strategies for managing the hospice caregiving experience. Results: Caregivers shared narratives discussing challenges that included their frustrations with patient care issues, emotional challenges, frustrations with various health care systems, financial problems, and personal health concerns. They also discussed coping strategies involving patient care, self-care, and emotional support. The coping techniques were both problem and emotion based. Implications: There is a need for interventions that focus on strengthening both problem-based and emotional-based coping skills to improve the caregiving experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)648-656
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Caregiving
  • Challenges
  • Coping
  • Hospice
  • Qualitative methods


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