NCARE (Nottingham Centre for the Advancement of Research into Supportive, Palliative and End-of-life Care)
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Yakubu Salifu

Title of PhD project

Home-based supportive and palliative care for advanced-stage Adult cancer patients from patients’, caregivers’, and health professionals’ perspective:  an exploratory patient-centred case study in Ghana.


Cancer treatment is a complex, multidisciplinary and expensive, and comprehensive may be inaccessible to many especially people living in resource limited countries such as Ghana. Though in the recent past, communicable diseases have been the long standing challenges of most developing countries but  quite  recently, there has been some epidemiological transition with non-communicable diseases especially cancer increasing in an exponential rates and  claiming the lives of many people yearly. The duo is therefore likely to annihilate the lives of people and further deepen the economic woes in most developing countries where many people in these countries live below the poverty line of £2.50 per day.

In Ghana, breast and prostate cancers are the leading causes of cancer and cancer deaths for females and males respectfully, and have hence been put on the priority list of the Ministry of Health for control (MoH, 2011). In the absence of organised well-resourced palliative care services and dearth of hospices in the Ghanaian culture, home-based palliative care appears to be the only option for advanced cancer patients and their families, with informal care givers usually family members, taking up the greater role of the care (Burton et al., 2012; Ghanney et al, 2015; & Rowe, 2012).

In most cases these care givers are not usually ready for the caring role (Angelo & Egan 2015), and they are faced with challenges in their caring role (Honea, et al. 2008). Multiple evidences suggest that caring for a patient with a terminal illness could be very stressful both physically  and psychologically (Burton et al., 2012; Huang et al., 2012; Bee, Barnes &  Luker, 2009) and family care givers may require assistance (Forbes-Thompson & Gessert, 2006). Even though the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Ghana has outlined a holistic strategic plan to control cancer, the concept of home-based cancer care, the required resources and support available to ensure quality care for cancer patients and their families seemed not to be properly addressed in the plan. Exploring the experiences of patients, family caregivers, and the liaison health personnel may be used as an important indicator for the appraisal of the quality of palliative care received at home.

It is envisaged that the study may provide clear understanding of practical care for advance-stage cancer patients at home in the Ghanaian context, highlight potential training and support needs that might help to provide evidence-based quality care to the patients while reinforcing good practices of care that are already in place. The findings may also be beneficial for other patients or other informal care givers- within similar context- who are or may be assuming the role of care giver. 


The purpose of this case study is examine and explore home-based supportive and palliative practical or hands on care for advanced-stage breast and prostate cancer patients diagnosed at a tertiary-based Teaching hospital in Ghana


Adopting a constructivist and interpretivist approach, the research will adopt a qualitative exploratory case study approach to explore home-based practical (hands on) care for advanced-stage breast and prostate cancer patients. Individual face-to-face in-depth interviews, observations of care giving at home and review of relevant documents on patients care will be employed to collect data Participants will include advanced-stage breast and prostate cancer patients, primary family care giver(s) of patients and health professionals who work as interface between home-based and hospital palliative care.



NCARE (Nottingham Centre for the Advancement of Research into Supportive, Palliative and End-of-life Care)

University of Nottingham
School of Health Sciences
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham, NG7 2HA