Repository logo

The lived experience of women providing care for their husbands with severe copd in rural Saskatchewan



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




Degree Level



The incidence of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is expected to rise in the coming years. Presently, in health care there has been a shift of the provision of care to the home therefore, the major burden of care falls on informal caregivers. The challenges that these caregivers face may be compounded by residing in a rural area where the provision of health care services has been increasingly compromised. In the literature, there has been an abundance of information looking at the experiences of caregivers of people with other chronic illnesses. However, the information on the lived experience of caregivers of people with severe COPD has been minimal. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experience and meaning of that experience for spousal caregivers providing care to a person with severe COPD living in rural Saskatchewan. Face-to-face, conversational interviews, along with observations of the caregivers and their spouses’ interactions and environment, were utilized to collect information from five women caring for their husbands with severe COPD living in rural Saskatchewan. Hermeneutic phenomenological reflection, as guided by the works of van Manen, utilized writing, collaborative discussion, life world existentials, and imaginative variation to illuminate themes and the overall essence of this experience. Five overlapping themes identified stemmed from the essence of unrelenting responsibility: 1) Assuming additional roles; 2) Ongoing vigilance; 3) Unfulfilled expectations; 4) Emotional burden; 5) Intermittent reprieve. This study assists in understanding the challenges faced by COPD caregivers and further aids in our understanding of how COPD patients manage their condition. In addition, it will facilitate the identification of strategies and actions to meet the needs sensitive to this population.



women, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, caregivers, informal, respiratory illness, spouses, rural



Master of Nursing (M.N.)


College of Nursing


College of Nursing


Part Of