Supporting home health aides through a client's death: The role of supervisors and coworkers

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Abstract

This study evaluated home health aides (HHAs) experiences related to the support they received around a client's death. 80 HHAs who had recently experienced a client death participated in semi-structured interviews. They were asked to what extent they felt support was available to them from their supervisor or coworker, whether they sought support, the type of support they sought, and how helpful it was. They were also asked what type of support they would like to receive. Findings showed that just over one third of the HHAs felt they could turn to their supervisors for support and one fifth could turn to their coworkers. Even fewer sought support. However, those who did receive support, found it to be extremely helpful, in particular when the support came from supervisors. Desired types of support were primarily related to having someone to talk to or check in with them, pointing to an important role of nursing supervisors in providing critical support to direct care staff.

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