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Conversations about Death and Dying with Older People: An Ethnographic Study in Nursing Homes

Alftberg, Åsa LU ; Ahlström, Gerd LU ; Nilsen, Per; Behm, Lina LU ; Sandgren, Anna; Benzein, Eva; Wallerstedt, Birgitta and Rasmussen, Birgit LU (2018) In Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland) 6(63). p.1-12
Abstract
Nursing homes are often places where older persons “come to die.” Despite this, death and dying are seldom articulated or talked about. The aim of this study was to explore assistant nurses’ experiences of conversations about death and dying with nursing home residents. This study is part of an implementation project through a knowledge-based educational intervention based on palliative care principles. An ethnographic study design was applied in seven nursing homes, where eight assistant nurses were interviewed and followed in their daily assignments through participant observations. The assistant nurses stated that they had the knowledge and tools to conduct such conversations, even though they lacked the time and felt that emotional... (More)
Nursing homes are often places where older persons “come to die.” Despite this, death and dying are seldom articulated or talked about. The aim of this study was to explore assistant nurses’ experiences of conversations about death and dying with nursing home residents. This study is part of an implementation project through a knowledge-based educational intervention based on palliative care principles. An ethnographic study design was applied in seven nursing homes, where eight assistant nurses were interviewed and followed in their daily assignments through participant observations. The assistant nurses stated that they had the knowledge and tools to conduct such conversations, even though they lacked the time and felt that emotional strain could be a hinder for conversations about death and dying. The assistant nurses used the strategies of distracting, comforting, and disregarding either when they perceived that residents’ reflections on death and dying were part of their illness and disease or when there was a lack of alignment between the residents’ contemplations and the concept of dying well. They indicated that ambivalence and ambiguity toward conversations about death and dying should be taken into consideration in future implementations of knowledge-based palliative care that take place in nursing homes after this project is finalized. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
auxiliary nurse, existential communication, frailty, ethnographic approach, life-limiting disease, older, aged, palliative care, residential care, end-of-life
in
Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland)
volume
6
issue
63
pages
1 - 12
ISSN
2227-9032
DOI
10.3390/healthcare6020063
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
aaa94287-7bd1-409a-b3d6-94712e8a1066
date added to LUP
2018-06-20 13:51:13
date last changed
2019-03-08 03:27:06
@article{aaa94287-7bd1-409a-b3d6-94712e8a1066,
  abstract     = {Nursing homes are often places where older persons “come to die.” Despite this, death and dying are seldom articulated or talked about. The aim of this study was to explore assistant nurses’ experiences of conversations about death and dying with nursing home residents. This study is part of an implementation project through a knowledge-based educational intervention based on palliative care principles. An ethnographic study design was applied in seven nursing homes, where eight assistant nurses were interviewed and followed in their daily assignments through participant observations. The assistant nurses stated that they had the knowledge and tools to conduct such conversations, even though they lacked the time and felt that emotional strain could be a hinder for conversations about death and dying. The assistant nurses used the strategies of distracting, comforting, and disregarding either when they perceived that residents’ reflections on death and dying were part of their illness and disease or when there was a lack of alignment between the residents’ contemplations and the concept of dying well. They indicated that ambivalence and ambiguity toward conversations about death and dying should be taken into consideration in future implementations of knowledge-based palliative care that take place in nursing homes after this project is finalized.},
  author       = {Alftberg, Åsa and Ahlström, Gerd and Nilsen, Per and Behm, Lina and Sandgren, Anna and Benzein, Eva and Wallerstedt, Birgitta and Rasmussen, Birgit},
  issn         = {2227-9032},
  keyword      = {auxiliary nurse,existential communication,frailty,ethnographic approach,life-limiting disease,older,aged,palliative care,residential care,end-of-life},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {06},
  number       = {63},
  pages        = {1--12},
  series       = {Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland)},
  title        = {Conversations about Death and Dying with Older People: An Ethnographic Study in Nursing Homes},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/healthcare6020063},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2018},
}