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Chinese culture supports family caregiving for stroke survivors

Chinese cultural values underlie the willingness of family members to care for stroke survivors at home, so interventions to support caregivers should consider incorporating these values, according to research presented at the Nursing Symposium of the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2016.

Each year, an estimated 22.5 million people in China survive a stroke and 78 percent of them require home care. This study probed stroke caregivers’ perceptions of this responsibility within the Chinese culture.

Researchers interviewed 14 stroke caregivers, average age 58, seven tending a spouse and seven a parent. Eleven were women. All were first-time caregivers who provided an average of 14 hours of care each day.

Three themes emerged from the individual interviews:

  • Among all the caregivers, 64 percent accept their role as a natural and expected part of life, a perception deeply rooted in Chinese culture.
  • Among the spouse caregivers, 92 percent believe it is their moral obligation to care for a sick partner, and women believe caring for sick relatives to be their role in the family.
  • Providing support during adversity is viewed by 71 percent of caregivers as an expression of love among family members. Children caring for parents believe that caregiving is a virtue and a means of repaying their parents.