The Loneliness of Home Care Family Caregivers in Poland. Inspirations from Carers UK regarding Social Education for their Inclusion and Support

Piotr Krakowiak

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/PCh.2020.012

Abstract


Over the last 40 years in Poland, we have been able to change attitudes towards patients with cancer and their family carers. We have learnt from the worldwide hospice movement, and have created our own strategies to provide effective social education for end-of-life care. The nationwide project, Hospicjum to też życie (Hospice is also life), has helped our hospice-palliative care, but also improved the social acceptance of end-of-life care and support for families of cancer patients in Poland. However, the situation of many elderly and house-bound people, especially for patients with dementia and their families, is still very different in Poland. Most families still feel ashamed of being the family with ‘mental problems’, often isolating themselves from others. Most of our local communities do not support those who suffer and those who care for them, often for many years, in their homes. Social educators and social workers have to address this issue of the loneliness and isolation of many family caregivers: How can one handle feelings of guilt, isolation and loneliness, when one is a family caregiver for someone seriously ill at home? We can gain useful advice from the experience of the British organisation Carers UK. Given that there are already good experiences with cancer patients and their families within the hospice movement in Poland, we can prepare our community leaders, social workers and local communities, to help those other ‘lonely heroes’ of caring at home to feel more included and supported by us. We can learn from those who have already developed tools and created strategies for supporting family caregivers. Exploring the educational strategies of the successful organisation Carers UK (www.carersuk.org) will help to indicate the main solutions to this social and educational challenge in Poland, thus helping to reduce the loneliness of family carers, especially in home care.


Keywords


palliative and end-of-life care; home care; family carer; loneliness; isolation; support; inclusion

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References


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