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Caring for Families in the Palliative Care Setting




This chapter discusses how the impending death of a family member presents both a crisis and challenge to their family. Their family is required to adjust and adapt their roles and functions in light of the personal loss they are about to experience. Furthermore, family members attempt to make meaning of what they are experiencing so as to make some sense of order in what is perceived by many as a chaotic time. This chaotic time may also be referred to as a period of instability, change and re-defining for the family. Adjusting, adapting and making meaning of this personal loss frequently requires professional support. This support is usually provided by nurses, as they hold the primary caregiver role. Regardless of the context, care of the family is integral to the provision of quality palliative care. In the context of providing quality palliative care, nurses and other health professionals should view the family as a unit of care rather than seeing the dying person in isolation from and separate to their family.


Contents include

  • Definitions
  • The impact of dying on families
  • Family roles
  • Family assessment
  • Interventions
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Author / Editor Biographies

RN, MHScEd, PhD
Amanda Johnson is Director of Undergraduate Studies and Senior Lecturer (Aged Care Focus) at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney (UWS). She has been responsible for the conceptualisation and implementation of the undergraduate teaching unit ‘Chronicity and Palliative Care Nursing’ at UWS for the past nine years. In 2010, she received a Highly Commended Award in the UWS Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence...

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