The journey through death and dying: families' experiences of end-of-life care in private nursing homes
Duffy, Mel and Courtney, Eileen (2014) The journey through death and dying: families' experiences of end-of-life care in private nursing homes. Project Report. Dublin City University. ISBN 978-1-873769-25-6
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Research focusing on families’ experiences of end-of-life care in an Irish context is largely absent. In a recent comprehensive review of end-of-life care for older people in acute and long-stay care settings in Ireland, O’Shea et al (2008) excluded the perspective of families from the study. This study aims to reduce that deficit by exploring families’ experiences and perceptions of the end-of-life care received by their loved in the context of a private nursing home setting. The report is comprised of discussions on: methodology; review of existing literature and interpretation of the data gathered thorough interviews of relatives who admitted a family member to nursing homes.
The data revealed how families noticed their loved ‘grow infirm, they age’ (Elias 1985 p.3) focusing on their journey through the ageing process. It uncovers the emotional journey of family members when they come to the realisation of the limitations of their ability to provide care for their loved ones. The majority of participants came to the realisation they could no longer provide the care their loved one needed. They had to navigate both the cultural ideology and promises made that nursing homes was the place of last resort for caring for a family member. Finding a nursing home is not easy and the majority of participants reviewed a number of nursing homes until they found what they were looking for. The decision to admit their loved one was based upon their initial instinctive reaction to the home for the majority ‘it felt like home’. Life within a nursing home is unpacked, from the quality of life of residents to the quality of care and the process of partings. This report is centered on the stories people told of living with a loved one who was ill and how they journeyed with them until their death.
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