The purpose of our study was to find out whether the palliative care principles and practices have entered the professional ethics of nursery home caregivers and assess the feasibility of applying palliative care in those surroundings. The survey on 34 nursing home caregivers in Slovenia, who attended the training course in October 2008, was performed by using questionnaires. The mean age of the 34 participants was 36.5 years. The majority of them (24) had secondary school. Half of them were working at nursery homes for the older people, 10 years. Throughout this period 19/34 were rarely or only exceptionally faced with the care for dying patients. They (27) were believed to have general knowledge on palliative care. In nursing terminal patients, 23 participants were considered to have been of great help, while 12 were reported to have been emotionally exhausted. In case of difficulties they could get support from their colleagues (27) or from their superiors (17). Two thirds of the responders were interested in additional training in providing psychological support and in pain control. They were not adequately acquainted with general palliative care principles and practices. The authors conclude that the participants have rather poor experience with the nursing of dying patients. The majority of them are very rarely faced with the experience of attending a dying person. The knowledge that they have obtained on palliative care is at a general level. Despite their inadequate knowledge, a surprisingly great number of them were believed to be of great help in nursing terminal patients, although this experience was mostly emotionally and physically exhaustive. This may be the result of the inadequate care and psychological support offered to the employees while going through this hard experience of caring for a dying patient and mourning for him.
- nursery homes
- palliative care
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