A phenomenological–hermeneutic study exploring caring responsibility for a chronically ill, older parent with frailty

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  • Helle Elisabeth Andersen, UCL
  • ,
  • Bente Hoeck, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Dorthe Susanne Nielsen, Health Sciences Research Centre, University of Southern Denmark, Odense University Hospital, Denmark
  • Jesper Ryg, Odense University Hospital, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Charlotte Delmar

Aim: To provide lifeworld insights into experiences of adult children with caring responsibility for an 80+-year-old chronically ill parent with frailty. Background: Informal care is common in Nordic welfare countries; however, little is known about adult children's experience of caring responsibility in this setting. Design: A phenomenological–hermeneutic study based on Reflective Lifeworld Research. Methods: Diaries and semi-structured interviews with 12 adult children. Results: Caring responsibility is identified as “a condition of life, filled with uncertainty.” Three constituents contribute to this phenomenon: (a) balancing love, duty and reciprocity; (b) being the parent's advocate and manager; and (c) experiencing concerns and bodily strain. Conclusion: Adult children work hard to provide care and enhance the well-being of their parent. Heidegger's concept ‘Fürsorge’ may help us understand how by showing how caring responsibility means balancing different roles vis-à-vis the parent, one's own life and the health and social systems. Caring responsibility changes the relationship between parent and child.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNursing Open
Pages (from-to)951-960
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

    Research areas

  • adult children, caring responsibility, diaries, frailty, illness, interviews, nursing, older parents 80+, phenomenological–hermeneutic, qualitative research

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