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Family INTERVIEWING – Background, method, theoretical perspectives and experiences


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    1. Family INTERVIEWING – Background, method, theoretical perspectives and experiences Marianne Gjertsen, PhD-student ,Sogn and Fjordane University College / University of Oslo*, Grethe Eilertsen, Associate Professor, Buskerud University College, Marit Kirkevold, Professor, University of Oslo and Ellen Karine Grov, Professor, Buskerud University College. RESEARCH AIM: To gain knowledge about how older cancer patients in the palliative phase and their relatives experience their in-between relations. This study highlights perspectives of what they experience as important and difficult, and of what strengthens and diminishes their abilities to focus on what they find important. Additionally, this study assesses gender, the impact of age, living facilities, family network, need for help, work situations and the family caregivers’ burden. BACKGROUND: Advanced cancer and imminent death affect the patient, as well as the whole family. To our knowledge family interviews has not been performed in Norway for assessment of relational aspects in older cancer patients and their families. The way in which the patient and his/her family member interact and communicate about the cancer trajectory and its challenges, might be important for their coping and health. STUDY POPULATION: Strategically selected, ethnic Nordic participants who are able to give informed consent and participate in a group conversation. Patients are included if they have cancer in the palliative phase and are at the age of ≥ 70. Relatives are included if they are ≥ 18 years old and hold different relations to the patient; spouse, children, grandchildren and siblings. EXPERIENCES: Family interviews are suitable as an approach for data collection in order to study how patient and relatives experience the in-between relations. During each interview the individuals express both equalities and differences regarding thoughts and experiences. The families describe different levels of confidence, struggling and emotional impact on the situation. The patient and his/her relatives support and correct each others, mostly the patient needs help to remember from the past. • METHODS: The study incorporates both a qualitative and a quantitative approach. Qualitative data is collected through family interviews. Theory about focus group interviewing guides the process: • Small groups, consisting of the patient and 1-3 next-of-kin, selected by the patient. • 20-30 groups • Genogram; demographic data, boundaries • Circular questions – feedback loops THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES: The Calgary Family Assessment Model by Wright and Leahey (2009). According to this model, the family consists of individuals with similar and different meanings, thoughts and feelings. Definition: ”A family is a group of individuals who are bound by strong emotional ties, a sense of belonging, and a passion for being in one another’s lives” (Wright and Bell, 2009). *E- mail Marianne Gjertsen: marianne.gjertsen@hisf.no