Caring for someone with a terminal illness

Cassie ' Interview 16

Age at interview: 26

Brief outline: Cassie's father was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue and throat in 2008. Cassie left her job to help her mother and become a full time carer for her father.

Background: Cassie is single. She works as a counsellor. Ethnic background' White British.

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After a period of illness Cassie’s father was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue and throat. Cassie left her job to help her mum run the family business and to help look after her dad. Her father had an operation which meant he couldn’t communicate and often only Cassie and her mum could understand him. Cassie took her father to many hospital appointments, including his radiotherapy treatment of which he was very frightened.

After some difficult times in hospital Cassie’s father decided that he wanted to be looked after at home. Cassie and her mother looked after him. Cassie often felt that her role had been reversed and that she felt like a ‘parent’ to her father. She often found the responsibility of looking after him exhausting, especially when his medication left him sedated.

Cassie found that the responsibility of caring for her father affected her other relationships, whilst she grew closer to her father, she found that she did not have time for herself or her friends.

Cassie felt that the help from the GP, Macmillan nurses and district nurses was very supportive. However Cassie felt let down by the doctors at the hospital and felt confused by the information about options for her father’s treatment from different departments within the hospital. Cassie felt that the Doctors were pressured and did not have time to answer all her questions.

Cassie commented that there was a centre for cancer patients at the hospital offering different services, but there was little information or support for carers. When her father died her mother was offered counselling, but Cassie wasn’t.


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