Exploring the psychosocial needs of Tongan families in Hospice care : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science (Psychology with endorsement in Health Psychology) at Massey University, Albany Campus, New Zealand
Caring for a loved one with a life-threatening illness has a great impact on the carer's psychosocial wellbeing. In Aotearoa-New Zealand, Tongan families are accessing hospice care; however, limited to no research has been conducted on their experiences of hospice care particularly regarding their psychosocial needs. Therefore, this qualitative study explores the psychosocial needs of Tongan families in hospice care to identify strategies that can help improve palliative care and support for Tongan family carers. This study employs the Tongan Kakala methodological framework as a methodology within the growing suite of Pacific methodologies. Within the Kakala framework, the talanoa (Tongan way of dialogue) is a tool utilized to gather data. Five participants are involved in this study who were primary family carers of Tongan heritage who accessed hospice care and resided in Auckland. A total of five family-based talanoa sessions were completed, transcribed and analysed through thematic
analysis. As a result, five psychosocial needs linked to caregiving were identified: limited knowledge and information regarding hospice care, ineffective communication by health professionals, lack of engagement by health professionals, dissatisfaction with spiritual support provided by hospice care, and lack of discussion and shared planning for future health care. Recognizing the Tongan family carers’ psychosocial needs led to identifying strategies that would help provide optimal palliative care support for Tongan families in hospice care. This includes hospice service providing care in a way that is culturally sensitive and competent for the family carers, delivering culturally appropriate education about hospice care, employing Tongan health professionals, and increasing engagement by health professionals. Implementing these strategies would help reduce the
psychosocial burden of caregiving and lead to better health outcomes for both the Tongan family carers and patients.