Perceptions of a "good death" in acute hospitals

Teresa Oliver, Stephen J O'Connor
Nursing Times 2015 May 20, 111 (21): 24-7

BACKGROUND: Despite the fact that half of all deaths occur in hospital, there is a lack of literature on general nurses' experiences of caring for end-of-life patients on general hospital wards.

AIM: To ascertain general nurses' perceptions and experiences of a good death in an acute hospital setting.

METHOD: In-depth interviews were conducted with 13 general nurses working in an acute hospital.

RESULTS: Six themes were identified as important in facilitating a good death: good communication/awareness of expected death; time (to care); environment; support; knowledge; symptom management.

CONCLUSION: Participants felt that failing to communicate a diagnosis of dying adversely affected the quality of death. As such the focus of future end-of-life care education needs to include how general nurses can facilitate communication and handle difficult questions to enable a good death for patients and their families.

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