Dr. Donna Goodridge, University of Saskatchewan, Grasswood, SK

Family caregivers can face considerable stress when caring for a person with chronic illness. This can result in depression and anxiety, social isolation, lower levels of subjective well-being and poor physical health and lead to premature institutionalization of the person for whom care is provided. Caregiver overload (fatigue and burn-out), a sense of “role captivity”, adverse events and the quality of the relationship can contribute to caregiver burden. Mindfulness-based interventions, such as self-compassion, can buffer the stressors faced by caregivers through enhancement of internal coping resources.

This presentation will review current evidence on: a) caregiver burden and its implications in chronic respiratory illnesses; and b) the use of self-compassion to ameliorate caregiver burden. Findings from a 12-week app-based program designed to train and support caregivers to incorporate self-compassion into their daily lives will be discussed. Participants will be guided through one self-compassion exercise in this session.

Learning Objectives
At the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to:

  • Define caregiver burden and identify its common manifestations;
  • Describe the concept of self-compassion and the evidence supporting this approach; and
  • Understand how self-compassion might contribute to improved outcomes for caregivers of people with chronic respiratory illnesses.