Mobilizing morality: how caregivers in Vietnam handle the challenges of daily diabetes care

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Background: As a chronic disease, type 2 diabetes (T2D) often involves long-term care obligations for patients’ family members. Understanding the socially and culturally specific challenges that family caregivers face and how they cope with them is crucial in developing targeted and effective interventions to support both caregivers and patients with T2D. This research examined family caregiving for people with T2D living in rural northern Vietnam. Although there is a growing literature on family support in Vietnam, little is known about the personal experiences of family caregivers for people with T2D. This paper seeks to fill this gap revealing some of the challenges and coping strategies of family caregivers to people with T2D. Methods: This qualitative study is based on ethnographic research using primarily semi-structured interviews with 21 caregivers to a person with T2D in Vietnam. The research was conducted in 2022 by a Vietnamese-Danish research team. Each interview was voice-recorded, transcribed verbatim and thematically coded. Results: Four major challenges emerged from the analysis: physical health concerns, psychological exhaustion, economic burdens, and lack of support. Caregivers expressed motivation to overcome these challenges as they felt a deep sense of responsibility towards their family member with diabetes. The primary caregiver’s sense of responsibility toward their family would often cause them not to share the burdens from caregiving with other family members to avoid burdening them as well. However, negative experiences from caregiving were decreased and positive feelings increased in the instances where caregiving was shared between multiple family members. Conclusion: While family members expressed motivation to take care of the patient because of moral obligations, some caregivers, specifically primary caregivers, did not want to burden other family members with care tasks and were reluctant to ask for assistance. For families who did share the caregiving tasks among several family members, some of the negative sentiments associated with caregiving were diminished. Having multiple members of a family forming a caregiving community thus motivated people in handling care challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1744
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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© 2023, BioMed Central Ltd., part of Springer Nature.

    Research areas

  • Caregivers, Informal care, Type 2 diabetes, Vietnam

ID: 387368385