Medical and health care personnel is present both at the beginning and at the end of life. At the end of life, these employees play a crucial role when caring for the dying, which is considered one of the most stressful aspects in health care. Yet in this field, little qualitative research on the experience of medical and health care personnel in providing palliative care has been conducted. This master's thesis explores the feelings and views of medical and health care personnel and their experience and understanding of palliative care in homes for the elderly, where, in addition to hospitals, palliative care is most common.
In this study conducted with health professionals employed at a nursing home, most participants perceive dying and death as a natural and integral part of life and have positive experiences with palliative care. Nevertheless, most participants are uncomfortable when talking to care recipients or their relatives on the subject of dying and death, which could be due to a perceived lack of competence for such conversations. As the most difficult part of palliative care, the participants point out the confrontation with the suffering and pain of the dying, which arouses a feeling of helplessness in them. In addition, all participants in one form or another experience hardship and are of the opinion that they take too much of the burden home, but they are of the opinion that they do not need to talk to a professionally trained worker.
Death is still a taboo in today's society, which is why employees in homes for the elderly deal with death behind the scenes and prefer to turn to each other in times of distress, related to dying and death. This may be the consequence of misconception or lack of knowledge about palliative care by both employees and the public. This paper is intended to encourage a more intensive consideration of palliative care in homes for the elderly, as well as an understanding and awareness of the importance of palliative care for the well being of patients and their families.