International Journal of
Nursing and Midwifery

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Nurs. Midwifery
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2456
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJNM
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 212

Full Length Research Paper

The burden of the caring role: Adaptation of family members to the caring role in surgical wards at a tertiary hospital in Malawi

Elizabeth Gwaza
  • Elizabeth Gwaza
  • Kamuzu College of Nursing, University of Malawi, Lilongwe, Malawi.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 20 September 2021
  •  Accepted: 05 January 2022
  •  Published: 31 January 2022


Family members also known as Patients’ Guardians (PG) are involved in caring for acutely ill inpatients in Malawian hospitals. Family participation in caring for acutely ill adult inpatients is adopted from the Family Centred Care approach. Using a focused ethnographic approach, we explored the perspectives of PGs and nurses on the burden of the caring role on PGs and their adaptation. Twelve PGs and eight nurses were purposively sampled to participate in the study. Data collection was done using participant observation, and in-depth interviews. Nvivo 12 software was used for coding and categorising data into themes that emerged. The findings were analysed using Spradley’s Developmental Research Strategy. Three cultural domains emerged from the findings of this study: PG diverse roles and responsibilities, PG burden to the caring role and coping with the caring role. Nurses should effectively assess PGs’ ability to cope with the caring role to facilitate their adaptation.

Key words:  Patient’s guardian, family centred care, caring role, adaptation.