Aims and objectives: To explore and describe the caregiving experiences of Chinese stroke caregivers.
Background: Previous research has indicated that culture can have a significant impact on the stroke caregiving experience. Moreover, scant research exists on stroke caregivers’ experience within the Chinese culture.
Design: A qualitative descriptive design was used.
Methods: In-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted with 25 family caregivers of stroke survivors. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and analysed. Content analysis was also performed.
Findings: Twenty-five family caregivers of stroke survivors were recruited for the study. On average, respondents were 66 years old (range 45–82 years). Of 25 interviewees, 76% were female, 64% were spouse-caregivers and 36% were children-caregivers. Three themes reflecting the influence of Chinese culture on stroke caregiving emerged from the interviews. (i) Caregiving role perception. Informants accepted caregiving for the sick family member as an expected part of life, a culturally prescribed obligation and an expression of reciprocal love. (ii) Coping strategies. Connecting with family resources and connecting with inner strength were frequently reported coping strategies. (iii) Self-sacrifice. Informants identified self-reliance and feeling of restraint in their utilisation or access of formal caregiving service. Chinese caregivers sacrifice themselves for the care recipients regardless of the hardships and the neglect of their own health.
Conclusion: Our findings provide a comprehensive and culturally sensitive perspective in understanding the experience of stroke caregivers in Chinese communities. Cultural and religious backgrounds were found to influence Chinese stroke caregivers’ experience, coping strategies and self-sacrifice behaviour in idiosyncratic ways.
Relevance to clinical practice: Research on the practice of culture can serve as a basis for the formulation of specific policies and effective interventions for supporting stroke caregivers of different cultural backgrounds.