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Care of cirrhotic patients and primary caregivers' experiences.


Kenneth Wilfred C. Agonia,
Lourdes T. Babor

Related Institution

College of Education - Holy Name University

College of Nursing - Holy Name University

Publication Information

Publication Type
Thesis Degree
Publication Date
March 2014



On a perspective, Filipinos are branded globally as family-first entities. They tend to work as a system to make it subparts- the family members, as whole as they could be. Somehow it is to some extent to have a major meltdown when someone from the family dies because of diseases like that of liver cirrhosis. 

Nursing a family member with this chronic condition of cirrhosis of the liver requires an incessant support- for them to realize that they are not alone with the battle that they are facing. This condition like some of the known diseases has its remissions and exacerbations that make the sick person cooperative as well as distressed at times. In one way or another, there will come a time wherein that certain being will fed up with what he has been with all those ups and downs. 

It is in this point of time that families depict their vital role in reinforcing a positive outlook and care to the cirrhotic family member, while also modifying their aspects of being a person- physically, socially, spiritually, emotionally; and even in the aspect of economics. 

There are a lot of questions that may arise with the nature of cirrhosis. In general, people may not be aware of the different elements that may be the cause of the development of cirrhosis or that can cirrhosis may have caused. For instance, one of the risk factors or causes of liver cirrhosis is alcoholism or alcohol-related liver disease.

Cirrhosis is a complication of many liver diseases that is characterized by abnormal structure and function of the liver. There are many causes of cirrhosis; they include chemicals (such as alcohol, fat and certain medications) viruses, toxic metals, and autoimmune liver disease in which the body's immune system attacks the liver. 

Cirrhosis of the liver is the tenth leading cause of mortality in the United States, with an age-adjusted mortality rate of 9.2 deaths per 100,000 population. Of those deaths, 45 percent were alcohol-related. Mortality is higher from all types of cirrhosis in men and nonwhites.

Philippine health statistics shows that the trend of mortality rate pertaining to liver disease in the Philippines and in Region 7 (Central Visayas) is increasing with respective data: 5,158 and 581 deaths for year 2001, 5,514 and 656 deaths for year 2002, 5,838 and 696 deaths for year 2003, 6,024 and 607 deaths for year 2004, 6,379 and 689 deaths for year 2005 and 6,522 and 689 deaths for year 2006, 6,246 and 653 deaths for year 2007, 6,774 and 703 deaths for year 2008 and 7,053 and 654 deaths for year 2009.

 More specifically, in the province of Bohol, liver disease has made its presence to be persistent in the top 10th and 14th places for the years 2008-2011 included in the leading cases of mortality (death) in all ages per 100,000 population; and continues to show an unstable trend with the following data: 2008 (rank 13th-103 cases; rate 8.29%), 2009 (rank 10th-179 cases; rate: 13.31% ), 2010 (rank 14th- 149 cases; rate 10.87%), and 2011 (rank 12th-159 cases; rate: 11.38%) (Philippine Field Health Service Information System, 2011).

With the overwhelming statistics aforementioned, a family as a unit having a family member with a chronic disease, in this sense, is supposed to take important roles for the welfare of their significant other even if it means that they shall be performing as the primary caregivers. Patients who have had liver disease for a long period of time may have already discussed this with their families. End of life discussions can be very difficult, particularly depending upon the underlying cause of the liver disease. There may be unresolved anger or fear in the family of a patient who developed cirrhosis because of alcohol ingestion, drug use, or viral hepatitis, for example. This can be very difficult for a family who had the hope of a cure for their loved one.

When caring for their liver cirrhotic family member at home, families' as the primary caregivers do have their experiences throughout the course of their care; in this line, palliative care comes along. In the nursing profession wherein the researcher is professionally registered, it cannot be vividly entertained the thought of having a substantial data of families of cirrhotic patients' thorough outline of experiences. Liver cirrhosis data is not that extensive not like other forms and types of diseases, how much more when it comes to the degree and statistics of the caregiving family members' perspectives.

In addition, the researcher had been a part of a family that was able to have an understanding what it is to have someone very important to have had, to have suffered, and to have experienced the demise brought about by the disease; that it made the whole bereaved family lost at one point but was able to get through the deepening agony it may have caused. When conditions like cirrhosis of the liver exists, having an extensive life would be unfeasible ; having healthy life could yield on having a greener tomorrow and that includes the families overall approach to the disease. 

The researcher wants to communicate to the respondents on how to somehow intervene with the different stressors that this malady may have or could have brought through information awareness that they could utilize or put into use. Through feeding the respondents the knowledge it would help them to practice effective ways to maintain a more suitable life. 

The researcher wanted to pursue this study in order to design interventions for the family of a liver cirrhotic client to cope with the different difficult and challenging family situations. It is strongly affirmed by the researcher that with the encouragement that is brought about by the published interventions, it will not only promote good health practices but could also create a blueprint of inspiration for them to improve the overall quality of care necessary for life sustenance.



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