Attitudes of Iranian nurses toward caring for dying patients

Sedigheh Iranmanesh, Helen Dargahi, Abbas Abbaszadeh
Palliative & Supportive Care 2008, 6 (4): 363-9

OBJECTIVE: To examine the attitudes of Iranian nurses toward caring for dying patients.

METHODS: Nurses' attitudes toward death and caring for dying patients were examined by using two types of questionnaires: the Death Attitude Profile-Revised (DAP-R) and Frommelt's Attitude towards Caring for Dying Patients (FATCOD), both with a demographic survey.

RESULTS: The results showed that most respondents are likely to view death as a natural part of life and also as a gateway to the afterlife. The majority reported that they are likely to provide care and emotional support for the people who are dying and their families, but they were unlikely to talk with them or even educate them about death. They had a tendency not to accept patients and their families as the authoritative decision makers or involve families in patient care. Nurses' personal views on death, as well as personal experiences, affected their attitudes toward care of the dying.

SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Lack of education and experience, as well as cultural and professional limitations, may have contributed to the negative attitude toward some aspects of the care for people who are dying among the nurses surveyed. Creating a reflective narrative environment in which nurses can express their own feelings about death and dying seems to be a potentially effective approach to identify the factors influencing their interaction with the dying. Continuing education may be required for Iranian palliative care nurses in order to improve the patients quality of care at the end of life.

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