Community nurses' perceptions of providing bereavement care

Authors

  • Sarah Redshaw PhD MA(Hons) BA(Hons),

    Research Fellow, Corresponding author
    • Department of Sociology, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Kath Harrison RN BHSc,

    Executive Officer KNCInc, Former Director Stream of Chronic & Complex Care
    1. Sydney West Area Health Service, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Amanda Johnson PhD DipT(Ng) MHScEd RN,

    Senior Lecturer, Deputy Director of Undergraduate Studies, Head of Program—Bachelor of Nursing (A-K)
    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Esther Chang RN CM DNE BAppSc(Adv.Nur) MEd Admin PhD(UNSW) FCN(NSW)

    Professor of Nursing, Director of Research
    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
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Correspondence: Sarah Redshaw, Department of Sociology, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia. Email: s.redshaw@drivingcultures.com.au

Abstract

This study explored the perceptions of bereavement support offered to clients and their carers and family by community nurses (CNs) in three community health centres located in a single area health service. In the context of an ageing population, it is pertinent to review CNs' perceptions in providing bereavement services. Early assessment and intervention is likely to prevent complicated grief occurring in the community. The bereavement support provided by CNs, considered here within a person-centred framework, enables identification of complicated grief. Semistructured interviews were held with 10 CNs and were transcribed verbatim. Transcriptions were analysed for major themes, and responses were grouped in relation to the study aims and themes emerging from the interviews. The themes discussed in this paper are as follows: the carer as a focus of palliative care; bereavement support as an outlet for carers; and the ending of the relationship between carers and CNs that is facilitated through bereavement support. The study provides evidence that supports the adoption of a model of bereavement support delivered by CNs as a means of reducing the likelihood of complicated grief occurring in the community. Further, the visits provide an important opportunity for nurses and carers to satisfactorily complete their relationship.

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