12-4-2014 9:30 AM
Caring for Caregivers: Assessing Grief and Coping of Pediatric Palliative Care Nurses
The definition and implementation of pediatric palliative care has been increasingly studied in recent years. Within the United States, where children generally have adequate nutrition and access to advanced technology, the population of dying children is relatively small. Nevertheless, the number of pediatric patients suffering from both cancer and other chronic and life-threatening diseases has increased. While there has been a focus upon the need for support of the child and the family, the emotional response and grief of the caregivers, especially nurses, has often gone unnoticed. The five different kinds of loss that may be experienced by caregivers help to form a framework for research about the responses of healthcare professionals to pediatric sickness and death. The grief that these nurses experience can be influenced by their previous experiences with death, their support system, and additional interventions that may be used as they process the death of a patient. An extensive review of the literature interwoven with the responses from qualitative studies and personal interviews may promote awareness of nurses’ grief and their need for support as they care for the children and families that make up the pediatric palliative care population.