Exploring the Dreams of Hospice Workers

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Abstract

Nine adults who worked at least 1 year with patients at US hospice centers completed an in-person audiotaped dream session focusing on a dream about a patient. Data were analyzed using consensual qualitative research. Patients were generally manifestly present in participants' dreams, and dreams were typically realistic (ie, not bizarre). In the dream, the dreamer typically interacted with the patient as a caretaker but was also typically frustrated by an inability to help as fully as desired. Dreams gave dreamers insight into the stress of hospice work, their own fears of death, and inter-/intrapersonal interactions beyond hospice work. Dreamers generally sought to take better care of themselves and find balance in their lives after the dream session. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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