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Being a Companion at a Natural Pathway towards Death
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Health Care Sciences, Palliative Research Centre, PRC.
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Health Care Sciences. Linköpings universitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8007-1770
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Health Care Sciences.
2017 (English)In: EAPC 2017: 15th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care. Progressing Palliative Care, Milano: EAPC , 2017, p. 1091-1091, article id P02-436Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background: Dying in old age tends to be slow and characterized by frailty and bodily needs. In Sweden a large proportion of deaths occur in nursing homes where bodily care is foremost provided by assistant nurses (ANs) who have high school education. Due to lack of places, admission to a nursing home is seldom granted until the older person has complex care needs, meeting death within a year.

Aim: The aim of the study was to describe ANs experiences of providing bodily care to older persons during the last time of their lives in a nursing home.

Method: The study had a qualitative design. Data was collected by individual interviews with ANs (n=7). The transcribed interviews were analyzed using an inductive qualitative content analysis.

Results: In the analysis one main theme emerged; “Being a companion at a natural pathway towards death”. The ANs perceived dying at old age expected as a natural end to a long life. This meant not to hinder what happened, but to be pliable to bodily signs of gradual deterioration of the older person, using intuition, experience and teamwork. The bodily care strived to relieve oppressive symptoms and increase quality of life. This was made possible by teamwork with a holistic approach meaning that bodily care was not only to care for the body, but the whole person. Thus, ANs also described a wish to bring a sense of security and well-being to the older person by being present, creating an atmosphere of closeness outgoing from a companionship built upon a mutual and familiar relationship. 

Conclusion: ANs strived to supply a bodily care aimed to strengthen the older persons self-image. This goal was closely linked to a person-centred palliative care that highlights self-image as fundamental to health, wellbeing and a good death. This may indicate a need of further education in palliative care in order to strengthen the ANs as professionals but also to develop an evidence-based bodily care.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Milano: EAPC , 2017. p. 1091-1091, article id P02-436
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-7393OAI: oai:DiVA.org:esh-7393DiVA, id: diva2:1305294
Conference
15th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care Progressing Palliative Care 18 - 20 May 2017 Madrid, Spain
Available from: 2019-04-16 Created: 2019-04-16 Last updated: 2019-08-20Bibliographically approved

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Holmberg, BodilHellström, IngridÖsterlind, Jane
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