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Informational and emotional support received by relatives before and after the cancer patient's death

      Summary

      The purpose of this study is to find out what cancer patients’ relatives think about the informational and emotional support they receive from health care professionals before and after the patient's death. The data were collected with a structured questionnaire administered to relatives of cancer patients who had died in one of seven health care centres and in one hospice in south-western Finland during a 2-year period before data collection. The questionnaires were sent out by staff to one family member of each adult patient ( n = 910 ). The final sample comprised 376 family members, most of whom were the deceased patient's spouses or children. Relatives felt that they had received fairly much support from health care professionals, both before and after the patient's death. Before the patient's death most of the information received by relatives concerned the patient's illness and treatment. They received less information about forms of financial support available. Communication had been honest and the information provided was easy to understand and based upon the relatives’ needs. Emotional support before the patient's death consisted mainly of acceptance of the relative and listening to what relatives had to say. However, relatives had only limited opportunity to talk about their difficulties in everyday life. After the death of the patient, staff had mostly supported relatives by showing their acceptance of them and by giving them the time they wanted. Some background variables for both patients and relatives correlated with the support received by relatives before and after the patient's death.

      Zusammenfassung

      Das Ziel dieser Studie bestand darin, zu evaluieren, wie die Angehörigen von Krebspatienten die informatorische und emotionale Betreuung beurteilen, die sie vor und nach dem Tod des Patienten von Mitarbeitern im Gesundheitswesen erhielten. Die Daten wurden mit Hilfe eines strukturierten Fragebogens erhoben. Diese Fragebögen wurden den Angehörigen von Krebspatienten ausgehändigt, welche innerhalb von zwei Jahren vor der Datenerhebung in einem von sieben Gesundheitszentren sowie in einem im Südwesten Finnlands gelegenen Hospiz verstarben. Die Fragebögen wurden von den Mitarbeitern an jeweils einen Familienangehörigen jedes erwachsenen Patienten gesandt ( n = 910 ). Die endgültige Stichprobe bestand aus 376 Familienmitgliedern, bei denen es sich in den meisten Fällen um die Ehepartner oder die Kinder eines verstorbenen Patienten handelte. Die Angehörigen gaben an, dass sie von den Mitarbeitern im Gesundheitswesen sowohl vor als auch nach dem Tod des Patienten relativ gut betreut wurden. Vor dem Tod des Patienten erhielten die Angehörigen überwiegend Informationen über das Krankheitsbild des Patienten sowie über die Therapie. Weniger Informationen erhielten die Angehörigen dagegen über die verfügbaren Formen der finanziellen Unterstützung. Die Angehörigen empfanden die Kommunikation mit den Mitarbeitern als aufrichtig und die erhaltenen Informationen als leicht verständlich und auf die Bedürfnisse der Angehörigen zugeschnitten. Vor dem Tod des Patienten bestand die emotionale Betreuung vor allem darin, dass der jeweilige Angehörige als Mensch akzeptiert wurde, wobei die Mitarbeiter bereit waren, zuzuhören, was der Angehörige zu sagen hatte. Die Angehörigen hatten jedoch wenig Gelegenheit, über ihre Schwierigkeiten im Alltag zu sprechen. Nach dem Tod des Patienten bestand die Betreuung der Angehörigen durch die Mitarbeiter vor allem darin, dass die Mitarbeiter den Angehörigen zur Seite standen und sich ausreichend Zeit für sie nahmen. Einige relevante Variablen, die sowohl den Patienten als auch die Angehörigen betrafen, korrelierten mit der Betreuung, welche die Angehörigen vor und nach dem Tod des Patienten erhalten hatten.

      Keywords

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