Social capital for carers of patients with advanced organ failure: a qualitative exploration of stakeholders’ perspectives

Marques Shek Nam Ng*, Winnie Kwok Wei So, Kai Chow Choi, Oluwadamilare Akingbade, Wallace Chi Ho Chan, Helen Yue Lai Chan, Carmen Wing Han Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Carers of patients with advanced organ failure (AOF) experience a tremendous caregiving burden. Social capital utilizes the internal strength of a community to support its members and may provide carers with comprehensive support. This study aimed to identify the different sources of social capital that can support carers of patients with AOF from the perspectives of stakeholders. Method: A descriptive qualitative study was conducted in community settings from April 2021 to May 2022. Stakeholders from medical social work departments, self-help groups, and non-governmental organizations were recruited, while some community members were invited through online media platforms. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted using an interview guide. Interview transcripts were analyzed using a qualitative description approach. In total, 98 stakeholders, including 25 carers, 25 patients, 24 professionals, and 24 community members, were recruited using purposive and snowball sampling. Results: Six categories about social capital for carers emerged, namely, carer attributes, the community, social care services, healthcare services, information, and policies. While the attributes of carers and their relationships with care recipients had a significant influence on caregiving, support from different groups in the community, such as neighbors and employers, was valued. Good communication of information about caregiving and social services was emphasized as being helpful by carers and other stakeholders. While carers presented a need for various healthcare and social care services, several features of these services, including their person-centeredness and proactive reach, were deemed useful. At the societal level, policies and research on comprehensive supportive services are warranted. The different sources of social capital constitute a multi-layer support system in the community. Conclusion: Carers can utilize personal attributes, interpersonal relationships, community resources, and societal contexts to enhance their caregiving. While this system can serve as a framework for building carer-friendly communities, interventions may be required to strengthen some aspects of social capital.
Original languageEnglish
Article number670
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2024

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