Date of Award

12-1-2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Health Education

First Advisor

Miller, Kim

Abstract

TITLE: Palliative Care: Viewpoints from Nurses Palliative Care has been described as care that includes the physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of an individual when they are diagnosed with a serious or life-limiting illness. The ultimate goal of palliative care is to promote the best quality of life possible. Palliative care should be implemented across the lifespan and across different health care settings. The purpose of this study was to describe the perceptions, impact, and meaning of palliative care from the viewpoint of nurses who provide basic palliative care to patients and their families. This study used a qualitative design to investigate the meaning, experiences, and feelings of nurses who provide palliative care in small or critical access hospitals and other agencies in this rural area. Three focus groups and eleven interviews were conducted with nurses working in a variety of agencies from October 2015 to February 2016. The four themes that emerged from the data included inconsistencies, knowledge deficits, communication issues, and emotional responses and rewards to providing palliative care. The themes focused on the need for clarification of the meaning of palliative care, more education on the topic and better communication. The nurses shared that it was rewarding to provide palliative care but identified barriers that they felt should be addressed. Nurses participating in the study did not perceive that they had palliative care at their agencies. Recommendations included that more health education about palliative care be provided to healthcare professionals, the community, and individuals with life-limiting illnesses and their families. Key words: palliative care, quality of life, life-limiting illness, nursing

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