Background: Dialysis nurses have a unique relationship with their patients and often require bereavement support should a patient death occur. This study was conducted in 2014 and aimed to explore the attitudes of dialysis nurses to death and dying and to identify suitable bereavement strategies following a death of a patient.
Methods: A purposeful, convenience sample of all nurses employed in the dialysis service completed a demographic profile and The Death Attitudes Profile Revisited (DAP_R) survey.
Results: There were 52 responses to the survey (98% response rate). The mean age of the participants was 45 years ± 8.0 years; 87% had >10 years nursing experience. Nurses suggest that debriefing and the use of a counsellor would support them in their grieving process while new graduate nurses appear to require extra support following a patient death. Analysis of the death attitude profile-revised (DAP-R) showed significant relationships between fear of death/death avoidance as well as fear of death/neutral acceptance. Spirituality and religion correlate strongly with 'Approach Acceptance' in this study group. Forty-four percent people who 'approach acceptance' of death can be explained by the strength of religious beliefs.
Conclusions: Many dialysis nurses appear to have strong religious or spiritual belief systems and this contributes to their acceptance of death, although there also appears to be a degree of death avoidance. The study has highlighted the need to provide adequate bereavement support for dialysis nurses.
Keywords: Attitudes to death; Bereavement; Dialysis; Nurses.
© 2016 European Dialysis and Transplant Nurses Association/European Renal Care Association.