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Int J Palliat Nurs. 2019 Aug 2;25(8):398-405. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2019.25.8.398.

Is the bereavement grief intensity of survivors linked with their perception of death quality?

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Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Professor, End-of-life Care Research Group, Vrije University Brussels and Ghent University, Belgium.
Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Ghana.
Head, End-of-life Care Research Group, Vrije University Brussels and Ghent University.
Palliative Care Professor, HammondCare and Conjoint Professor in Palliative Care, University of Sydney, Australia.
Medical Student, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.
End-of-life Care Research Group, Vrije University Brussels and Ghent University.



Some people experience exceptionally severe bereavement grief, and this level of post-death grief could potentially be the result of a low quality dying process.


A pilot study was conducted to determine if a relationship exists between perceived death quality and bereavement grief intensity.


A questionnaire was developed and posted online for data on bereavement grief intensity, perceived death quality, and decedent and bereaved person characteristics. Data from 151 Canadian volunteers were analysed using bi-variate and multiple linear regression tests.


Half had high levels of grief, and over half rated the death as more bad than good. Perceived death quality and post-death grief intensity were close to being negatively correlated.


These findings indicate research is needed to explore possible connections between bereavement grief and the survivor's perceptions of whether a good or bad death took place. In the meantime, it is important for palliative care nurses to think of the quality of the dying process as being potentially very impactful on the people who will be left to grieve that death.


Bad death; Bereavement; Good death; Grief; Questionnaire

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