INTRODUCTION: Significant number of women present with advanced-stage breast cancer in Ghana. These women usually depend on family caregivers for their multi-dimensional needs. Yet, there are gaps in research about what motivates family caregivers to assume the caring role and their experiences with caregiving within the Ghanaian context.
AIM: To explore and describe the caregiving motivations and experiences among family caregivers of patients living with advanced breast cancer.
METHODS: In-depth, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 15 family caregivers who were providing unpaid care for women living with advanced breast cancer. Colaizzi's thematic analysis was used to analyze the data.
RESULTS: Family relationship normally prescribed the caregiving role among family caregivers. Due to the lack of home-based palliative services in Ghana, findings suggest that family caregivers are the main managers of advanced breast cancer-related symptoms in the home. These findings are discussed under three major themes: (i) motivation for assuming the caregiving role; (ii) meeting self-care and psychosocial needs of the patient; and (iii) symptom management and monitoring.
CONCLUSION: Socio-cultural values influence the role of family caregivers in Ghana. This presents opportunities for health professionals and relevant stakeholders to develop a culturally-appropriate intervention to support informal caregivers in their home-based care for women living with advanced breast cancer in Ghana.