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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Home care nurses’ experiences of grief and loss with palliative clients : a narrative inquiry Brothers, Dinae Elizabeth


Home care nurses' experiences of loss and grief with palliative clients have not been well documented in the literature. Home-based palliative care nurses provide supportive care to dying clients at home that includes both pain and symptom management as well as psychological support. Psychological supportive care along the death trajectory has been identified as the most difficult aspect of home-based palliative care nursing. Home-based palliative care nurses require ongoing support for their personal experiences of grief and loss as they provide care to dying clients and their families. In this qualitative study, narrative inquiry was chosen as the method to understand home care nurses' experiences with grief and loss. Ten participants volunteered for the study. They had more than two years experience in home-based palliative nursing care and were currently employed in home care nursing. Home care nurses' stories were analyzed from in-depth interviews for content, structure, and interpersonal factors. Findings of the study emerged from the narratives. Three narratives were identified in this study: balancing professional attachments, entering into suffering, and honoring the memories. The findings of the research study have implications for education, administration, clinical practice, and further research. Home care nurses are currently practicing a variety of effective self-care strategies as they continue providing supportive care to dying clients and their families. The study findings suggest that the current organizational structure may be inadequate in providing home-based palliative care nurses with the ongoing support needed to provide supportive care to the dying within the context of a relationship.

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