Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Pain Symptom Manage. 2015 Feb;49(2):214-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2014.05.023. Epub 2014 Jul 1.

Grief after patient death: direct care staff in nursing homes and homecare.

Author information

1
Jewish Home Lifecare, Research Institute on Aging, New York, New York, USA; Brookdale Department of Geriatrics & Palliative Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, USA. Electronic address: kboerner@jewishhome.org.
2
Jewish Home Lifecare, Research Institute on Aging, New York, New York, USA.
3
Department of Psychology, Fordham University, Bronx, New York, USA.
4
RBC Retirement Research Centre, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Patient death is common in long-term care (LTC). Yet, little attention has been paid to how direct care staff members, who provide the bulk of daily LTC, experience patient death and to what extent they are prepared for this experience.

OBJECTIVES:

To 1) determine how grief symptoms typically reported by bereaved family caregivers are experienced among direct care staff, 2) explore how prepared the staff members were for the death of their patients, and 3) identify characteristics associated with their grief.

METHODS:

This was a cross-sectional study of direct care staff experiencing recent patient death. Participants were 140 certified nursing assistants and 80 homecare workers. Standardized assessments and structured questions addressed staff (e.g., preparedness for death), institutional (e.g., support availability), and patient/relational factors (e.g., relationship quality). Data analyses included bivariate group comparisons and hierarchical regression.

RESULTS:

Grief reactions of staff reflected many of the core grief symptoms reported by bereaved family caregivers in a large-scale caregiving study. Feelings of being "not at all prepared" for the death and struggling with "acceptance of death" were prevalent among the staff. Grief was more intense when staff-patient relationships were closer, care was provided for longer, and staff felt emotionally unprepared for the death.

CONCLUSION:

Grief symptoms like those experienced by family caregivers are common among direct care workers after patient death. Increasing preparedness for this experience via better training and support is likely to improve the occupational experience of direct care workers and ultimately allow them to provide better palliative care in nursing homes and homecare.

KEYWORDS:

Grief; bereavement; caregiving; direct care staff; homecare workers; nursing assistants; patient death; preparedness

PMID:
24996033
PMCID:
PMC4300283
DOI:
10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2014.05.023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center