Background: In resource-poor countries where there are no well-developed institutional-based palliative care services or where those facilities are in limited supply, family home-based care is a critical element for palliative care management. This study explores the experiences of patients, and their family members providing care, while living with advanced prostate cancer.
Methods: The study adopted a qualitative repeat in-depth interview approach. Fifty-eight participants were interviewed (men prostate cancer n = 23, family caregivers n = 23, healthcare professional n=12) resulting in 45 individual interviews (men with cancer n = 21 (first interview n = 12, second n = 9), family caregivers n = 21 (first interview n = 12, second interview n = 9) at two time points; and health care professional (n=3). Two focus groups were conducted with nine healthcare professionals who were members of the palliative care team (n=6, n=3), and 21 dyad/joint interviews with patients together with their caregivers (first interview n = 10, second n = 9). A thematic analysis approach was used to explore relevant content and contexts of the experiences of living with and or caring for prostate cancer.
Findings: The study highlights three main themes from the analysis across the participants’ groups. The themes are: Family caregiving, managing illness in a resource-limited context; and Managing stigmatising illness/ prostate cancer in the context of Masculinity. The study also offers insights into management of advanced prostate cancer where palliative care services and resources are not well-developed and/or not accessible/affordable
Conclusion: This study identifies the need to improve palliative care in Ghana, particularly in managing care at home. A need for further palliative care coordination, resources, and training for patients and their family caregivers is thus evident. Findings will inform health and social care policy with the aim of optimising and coordinating palliative care management both in institutional and home-based settings.