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Keywords:

  • action research;
  • aged care;
  • end-of-life care;
  • grief;
  • pain;
  • reflective practice

Rowley J, Taylor B. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2011; 17: 591–598

Dying in a rural residential aged care facility: An action research and reflection project to improve end-of-life care to residents with a non-malignant disease

This article describes a qualitative research project that explored issues around end-of-life care provided to residents dying from non-malignant diseases in two, rural Australian, residential aged care facilities. Reflective processes and action research were combined to work in collaboration with 14 aged nurses, associated staff and relatives of dying residents.

Reflection featured in the research and included group reflection on practice stories, critical reflection during thematic analysis and reflection on action research cycles. Themes and subthemes emerged, indicating that aspects of end-of-life care needed further improvement. Major thematic concerns were prioritized for action and included the need for better pain management practices which will be discussed. Identifying these clinical issues was an important step in creating, implementing and evaluating actions. Participants reported varying degrees of success in attempting to improve end-of-life care.