A meta-ethnographic study of fathers' experiences of caring for a child with a life-limiting illness

Postavaru, G-I., Swaby, H. and Swaby, R. (2020) A meta-ethnographic study of fathers' experiences of caring for a child with a life-limiting illness. Palliative Medicine. ISSN 1477-030X

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Background: There is a growing body of qualitative studies examining parents’ experiences of caring for a child with a life-limiting condition, coinciding with recent evidence that indicates an increasing incidence of paediatric life-limiting conditions. However, research focusing on fathers’ needs remains sparse and is often diluted among a predominant ‘mother’s voice’, raising questions about whether practices in clinical settings meet fathers’ needs. Aim: To provide an in-depth assembly of the current state of knowledge around fathers’ experiences of caring for their children diagnosed with life-limiting conditions and understand the implications for healthcare services and policies. Design: A meta-ethnography was conducted to synthesise findings from existing qualitative studies exploring fathers’ experiences of caring. Data sources: Four electronic databases (PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL and Science Direct) were searched up until April 2020. Qualitative studies exploring fathers’ care experience and published in English language were included. The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) checklist was employed for study quality appraisal. No temporal limits were used. Results: Sixty-three studies met the inclusion criteria. Thirty life-limiting conditions were included. Based on responses from 496 fathers, a conceptual model was developed which translates key experiences within the fathers’ caregiving journeys. The overarching concepts identified were: the paradox of support, challenges in the caring process, ‘nobody thinks of men’, impact on family life and the fall of the curtain: an irrevocably altered world. These and associated sub-concepts are discussed, with recommendations for future research and practice provided. Conclusion: The findings indicate the value of a family-oriented approach to develop psychosocial interventions and support channels for fathers, thus empowering them whilst reducing the care-giving burden on the family unit.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 SAGE. This is an author-produced version of a paper accepted for publication in Palliative Medicine. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Divisions: School of Social Science
Depositing User: Gianina Postavaru
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2020 09:32
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2021 08:26
URI: https://bgro.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/783

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