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Methodological considerations for researching the financial costs of family caregiving within a palliative care context
  1. Clare Gardiner1,
  2. Ruth Allen2,
  3. Tess Moeke-Maxwell3,
  4. Jackie Robinson3,4 and
  5. Merryn Gott3
  1. 1School of Nursing & Midwifery, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2Auckland, New Zealand
  3. 3School of Nursing, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  4. 4Auckland District Health Board, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr Clare Gardiner, School of Nursing & Midwifery, The University of Sheffield, Barber House Annexe, 3a Clarkehouse Road, Sheffield S10 2LA, UK; c.gardiner{at}


Background The financial impact of family caregiving in a palliative care context has been identified as an issue which requires further research. However, little is known about how research should be conducted in this area.

Objective The aim of this study was to explore the opinions of family caregivers in New Zealand regarding the need to conduct research relating to the financial costs of family caregiving and to explore their perspectives on acceptable and feasible methods of data collection.

Methods A qualitative study design was adopted. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 30 family caregivers who were either currently caring for a person with palliative care needs or had done so in the past year.

Results All participants felt that research relating to the costs of family caregiving within a palliative care context was important. There was little consensus regarding the most appropriate methods of data collection and administration. Online methods were preferred by many participants, although face-to-face methods were particularly favoured by Ma¯ori participants. Both questionnaires and cost diaries were felt to have strengths and weaknesses.

Conclusions Prospective longitudinal designs are likely to be most appropriate for future research, in order to capture variations in costs over time. The lack of consensus for a single preferred method makes it difficult to formulate specific recommendations regarding methods of data collection; providing participants with options for methods of completion may therefore be appropriate.

  • palliative care
  • family caregiving
  • informal caregiving
  • financial costs

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  • Contributors CG wrote the first version of the manuscript and revised subsequent versions. RA, TM-M and JR collected data and contributed to manuscript revisions. MG contributed to data analysis and manuscript revisions.

  • Funding This research was funded by a grant from the University of Auckland Faculty Research Development Fund (PI: MG).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Northern X Ethics Committee, New Zealand.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.