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IJHSE Abstract

“You Can’t Do Anything Like You Used To": An Australian Study of the Implications of Asbestos-Related Disease for both Caregivers and Society

1Buultjens J., 2Cairncross G., 3Tucker J., and 4Sen S.

1School of Business and Tourism, Southern Cross University, NSW, Australia.

2School of Business and Tourism, Southern Cross University, NSW, Australia.

3Centre for Social Impact, Faculty of Business and Law, Swinburne University, Australia

4School of Business and Tourism, Southern Cross University, NSW, Australia.

Accepted June 07, 2018

Asbestos-related diseases have considerable physical, economic and social impacts on the person diagnosed along with their caregivers and family. However the social impacts have been a relatively under-researched area, especially in Australia. This paper reports on the thematic findings from a qualitative study of 26 men and women with an asbestos-related diagnosis and their caregivers in New South Wales, Australia as well as representatives from support group organizations. The participants confirmed that there is considerable functional disability and loss of mobility associated with the diseases, especially mesothelioma. The loss of mobility results in a very high level of dependency on caregivers, as well as substantial social isolation for both the person diagnosed and their caregiver. These major impacts on caregivers are one of the major concerns for the person diagnosed. Another serious and complex issue is associated with younger asbestos victims, particularly when young children are involved. The results indicate that government and policy makers need to provide better information and support systems for all sufferers and their caregivers. There is also a need for advance planning in order to cater for the wider effects of ‘third wave’ cases. A failure to address these needs and a reliance on a reactive approach could prove to be very costly.

Key words: Socio-economic costs, policy implications, third wave asbestos issues.

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