Nurses Can Help Caregivers
Nurses can help families not only during a loved one’s illness, but also beyond the patient’s death, according to nursing researchers.
Janice Penrod, professor of nursing at Penn State, compared the nursing profession’s theory of the end of life with that advanced by clinical psychologist G.A. Bonnano , holds that grief waxes and wanes during the bereavement period.
After interviewing 14 families, Penrod and her fellow researchers found that families’ grieving patters followed Bonnano’s theory rather than the traditional five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance
Help from nurses , Penrod said , could help caregiving families in the bereavement period by going beyond the visits to the doctor made by the family both during and after the illness.
"What we know is that the caregiver's primary contact with the health care system is during brief office visits [for the patient]," Penrold said in a statement. "Our goal is to develop an assessment that is fast and efficient to give us a snapshot of that caregiver so that we can at least identify needs, and if not intervene during that brief office visit, give them information and a referral to help them smooth the course."
Penrod made the statements before Council for the Advancement of Nursing 2012 State of the Science Congress in Washington, D.C.