BACKGROUND: End-of-life care is high on policy and political agendas in the UK and internationally. Nurses are at the forefront of this, caring for dying patients, 'managing' the dead body, and dealing with the corporeal, emotional and relational dimensions of death. Little is known about nurses' prior or early professional experiences of and reactions to death, dying and the corpse and how these might influence practice.
AIMS: To appraise the international literature on nurses' early experiences of death, dying and the dead body, to better understand how these might influence subsequent practice, and how this might inform our teaching of death, dying and last offices.
METHODS: A scoping review was undertaken of peer-reviewed publications between, 2000 and 2019, which included nurses working in hospital, care homes and the community. Medline, PubMed, PsychINFO and CINAHL databases were searched and 23 papers meeting the inclusion criteria were read. Arksey and O'Malley's (2005) five-stage approach was adopted to scope the relevant international literature, using where relevant the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. Selected papers were independently reviewed and subjected to thematic analysis, leading to the generation of five overarching themes.
RESULTS: The five themes were: different philosophies of care; relationships; knowledge; impact of death; and giving care. The studies came from diverse geographical locations across different settings and were primarily qualitative in design.
CONCLUSIONS: Students and registered nurses are impacted both positively and negatively by their early encounters with death and dying. Good communication with patients, families and between professionals, understanding of what constitutes a 'good' death, and high-quality mentorship and support were of particular importance.
OBJECTIVE: To report on research conducted on men's experiences of grief and loss following stillbirth and neonatal death in high-income, Western countries.
DESIGN: This review was guided by the following research questions: 1. The impact of perinatal death for men 2. The meaning of the loss for a father's sense of identity 3. The extent to which men were able to express grief while supporting their partners and, 4. how men's experience of grief was mediated by the support and care received by health professionals.
DATA SOURCES: We searched the following databases: Medline; PsychINFO; CINAHL to identify relevant articles published from the year 2000 onwards. The searches were run between 1/04/2018 and 8/4/2018.
REVIEW METHODS: A scoping review was conducted of nursing, psychological, medical and social science databases using these key words: fathers' grief, men's grief, perinatal loss and death, stillbirth and neonatal death.
RESULTS: Studies indicated that men reported less intense and enduring levels of psychological outcomes than women but were more likely to engage in avoidance and coping behaviours such as increased alcohol consumption. Men felt that their role was primarily as a 'supportive partner' and that they were overlooked by health professionals.
CONCLUSIONS: Further research is needed on men's experience of grief following perinatal death, especially on their physical and mental well-being.
IMPACT: This review addressed the problem of the lack of knowledge around paternal needs following perinatal death and highlighted areas which researchers could usefully investigate with the eventual aim of improving care for fathers.
Objectives: Breathlessness is a major problem for people in their last weeks of life. Breathlessness is considered to be multidimensional with physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual factors all playing a part. It has been recognised that specific training to health professionals is beneficial in order to improve the care for patients with breathlessness.Breathlessness courses have tended to focus on senior nurses. A new flexible and collaborative training course was designed to include a wider range of nurses and other health professionals in hospital, hospice, primary care and community settings. The aim of the 'Practical Skills to Support the Breathless Patient' programme was to make patients and carers feel better supported in their breathlessness, for health professionals to develop confidence and skills in using proven interventions, and to adopt a flexible educational design that could be adapted to different contexts.
Methods: The course is learner-centred and teaching methods encourage interaction and participation via a mix of lectures and discussions with practical skills-focused, experiential workshops in smaller groups. Case study work was included to integrate learning with participants' practice environment. Evaluation is built in during the course, so adaptations can be made throughout to respond to changing learner needs.
Results: Participants reported increased confidence in terms of knowledge and applying this within everyday practice. The theory-practice dynamic worked well within each participant' specific work context in particular through the case study approach.
Conclusions: The course developed a number of innovative approaches, such as multi-disciplinary learning groups, regular feedback loops, reflexive learning about putting theory into practice and long-term follow-up. Combining these elements increases professionals' confidence and sustains new clinical practice.