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Title: An ethnographic study of family caregiving to people with dementia in Hong Kong
Author: Chung, C. C. J.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1999
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By means of an ethnographic study approach, nine families have been followed up for two years to examine the patterns, process and outcomes of caring for a relative suffering from dementia in Hong Kong. Interviews, observations, and document review were main data collection strategies. Data was managed and analyzed by means of QSR NUD*IST. Informants' accounts challenged the government's implicit assumption that family care was the most appropriate caring model in Chinese society. A substantial shrinking of family resources, caused by rapid modernization, greatly limits families to provide care to ailing family members. Neither the community care policy nor the housing policy support family care. Incorrect public understanding of dementia and an inadequate training of professional caregivers in dementia care further hampered family care giving. Love, commitment and relational obligation were strong caring motives, but informants generally experienced exhaustion, helplessness, guilt and rage during the caring process. Despite an overwhelming scale of non-reinforcing factors, some informants obtained gains such as personal growth and fulfilment, reconnecting with a loving parent or spouse, and a break from normal life patterns. The findings therefore suggest that both positive and negative caring experiences coexist, but their proportions vary from situation and situation. 'Self' is an important agent to bring about gains, such as accepting one's powerlessness, initiating an active search for meaning, and having faith in the future. To explain informants' use of external events and experiences to explain the occurrence of dementia, a model of lay construction of dementia is proposed. It suggests that when family carers receive inadequate information about dementia, they use experiences, values and beliefs to make sense of it. Thus, the question of how to bring together professional and lay interpretation of dementia is important, as it reflects the degree of matching between professional and lay expectations on care plans.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available