Abstract Postmortem Care

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Therapeutic effects of postmortem care:
A phenomenological cohort study

Abstract

Death, regardless of cause, can be extremely difficult for surviving family members to accept. It can also, however, be a difficult experience for the nurse charged with care of the patient. As postmortem care entails so much more than simply removing tubing and readying the body of the deceased for transport to the morgue, it is hypothesized that the nurse who is educated in the provision of proper postmortem care will benefit therapeutically to a greater extent during the grieving process than the nurse who lacks such education. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological cohort study is to examine the therapeutic effect that proper postmortem care has on the nurse providing that care with regard to gaining a sense of closure and acceptance of the death of the patient. All incoming graduate nurses assigned to a critical care specialty within the Ben Taub Hospital will be followed for the first year of service. An initial survey will be conducted upon hire to ascertain their level of postmortem care knowledge. A narrative account of each nurse’s experience will be requested after the first instance of postmortem care. The group of critical care nurses will then attend an in-service presentation on proper postmortem care and the same survey given at hire will be given again. Following the next instance of necessary postmortem care, the newly-educated RNs will be asked to provide a narrative outlining their experiences. This data will then be compared and differences between the pre- and post-educational experiences can be used to measure the benefits of postmortem care education for all nurses. If successful, this study will be significant in that it can be used to further research therapeutic benefits to nurses who provide postmortem care by helping to prevent nursing burnout due to ineffective coping.

References

Çelik, S., Uğraş, G....
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