The article entitled ‘Becoming a secondary actor of one’s own life: A qualitative study of the experiences of informal caregivers in the care of people with chronic pain’ by Helena De Sola and Inmaculada Failde, members of the Pain Observatory, in collaboration with researchers from the University of the Basque Country, has been published in the prestigious journal Health Expectations.
The physical limitations experienced by people with chronic pain produce a need for care and assistance, which is usually provided by an informal caregiver, i.e. a family member. This study aims to understand the experiences of informal caregivers of people with chronic pain. Qualitative methodology was used for its elaboration. Twelve interviews were conducted with informal caregivers of patients with chronic pain who attended the Pain Unit of the University Hospital of Cadiz.
The main findings were: ‘Becoming a supporting actor in your own life’, which encompasses three themes:
1. Key elements that shape a carer’s experiences
2. “It’s what I’ve been dealt”
3. The burden of being a carer and coping strategies.
The results of the study highlight how chronic pain impacts on the lives of informal carers. It was observed that people who had the role of informal caregiver with a patient with chronic pain felt and gave more importance to their relative’s needs than even to their own, despite the fact that some of these caregivers were also suffering from pain. Participants also felt resigned to their role as caregivers, as they felt they had no other options but to care for their relative.
Differences were also found in the experiences and burden felt by caregivers according to socio-economic status, family support or the gender of the caregiver. You can read the full article by clicking on the following link: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hex.13671