[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Staff members in palliative home care play an important role in supporting bereaved family members. The aim of this study was to explore staff members' perspectives on providing such support.
Staff members in six units responded (n=120; response rate 58%) to a postal questionnaire with Likert-type and open-ended questions. The responses were analyzed using statistics and manifest content analysis.
None of the respondents stated that bereavement follow-up was "most often difficult," 23% "most often rather difficult," 52.5% "most often rather easy," and 12.5% "most often easy." Apart from a tendency for age to be linked to perceived difficulty, there were no apparent patterns. Bereavement follow-up was a positive opportunity to support the family member's coping with their bereavement and to get feedback on the palliative care provided. Critical aspects concerned the question of whose needs actually were being met at bereavement follow-up, i.e., the staff members' needs for getting feedback on the care provided versus the risk of burdening the family members' by reminding them of the deceased's dying trajectory. Aspects that negatively influenced the staff members' experiences were complex and related, e.g., to the family member's dissatisfaction with the care provided, to the staff member's perceived lack of competence, and to the staff member's relationship to the family member.
Bereavement follow-up was perceived as a rewarding conclusion to the relationship with the family member. The findings suggest that meaning-based coping might be an appropriate framework when understanding staff members' experiences with providing bereavement follow-up.
Supportive Care in Cancer 12/2009; 19(1):37-48. · 2.09 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Palliative care does not end with the death of the patient, and many palliative care services offer specific follow-up services for the bereaved. The aims of this study were to quantitate perceived bereavement needs and to qualitatively describe these needs. The study design was cross-sectional and targeted family members three to nine months after the patient's death. Two hundred and forty-eight family members responded (response rate 66%) to a postal questionnaire with Likert-type and open-ended questions. The responses to the open-ended items were analyzed with manifest content analysis, and the quantitative part was analyzed with descriptive statistics. The analysis showed that about half of the family members expressed a need for bereavement follow-up. A majority favored a personal meeting, preferably in their own home, with the staff member who had had the most contact with the patient and the family. The family members wanted to talk about what had happened during the palliative phase (e.g., if the patient had suffered or not), and also about their present situation, their feelings of loneliness, and the future. The follow-up procedure made the family member experience a feeling of being recognized as a person with their own needs and was also valuable with regard to the family members' feelings of guilt. The findings are discussed in relation to narrative theory, meaning-based coping, and the dual process model of coping with bereavement, and designing follow-up procedures.
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 02/2008; 35(1):58-69. · 2.60 Impact Factor