Caring for Dying Patients and those Facing Death in an Acute-Care Hospital in Singapore: A Nurse's Perspective

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Abstract

Nurses are at the forefront of caring for dying patients in hospices, nursing homes, acute-care hospitals, and patients' homes. This study was conducted to explore the emotional and practical experience as well as attitudes of nurses caring for the dying and the deceased in an acute-care hospital in Singapore. The authors explored differences in opinion among the various ethnic groups (Malay, Chinese, Indian, Filipino) that make up the nurse population in this particular hospital. A structured questionnaire was self-administered by the participants to explore nurses' views, opinions, and experiences in caring for dying patients from a quantitative aspect. It specifically addressed attitudinal, ethical, and communicational issues involved in caring for dying patients. Where applicable, a Likert scale ranging from Always to Never or from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree was used. One hundred and eighty of 246 questionnaires were returned (73%). Most respondents never or only occasionally felt uncomfortable caring for dying patients, and felt it reminded them of their own mortality, made them treasure life more, and made them ask questions about life and death. In this descriptive study, some difference in attitudes and views among the various ethnic groups was observed.

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