Beyond Right or Wrong: Attitudes and Practices of Physicians, Nurses, Psychologists, and Social Workers Regarding Attendance at Patient Funerals.
J Palliat Med. 2018 Nov 09;:
Authors: Zambrano SC, Chur-Hansen A, Crawford GB
BACKGROUND: Health professionals' bereavement practices, including funeral attendance, have attracted relatively little attention from researchers. There may be a number of motivations and perceived benefits for health professionals to attend patient funerals. There are no published data comparing different groups of health professionals' perceptions of and practices in attending the funerals of their patients.
OBJECTIVE: To understand the attitudes and practices of health professionals toward attendance at patient funerals.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional nationwide online survey of attitudes and practices toward attendance at patient funerals based upon data from interviews with health professionals.
PARTICIPANTS: Australian health practitioners from medicine, nursing, psychology, social work, and other allied health professions (n = 1098).
RESULTS: Attendance at patient funerals was predicted by age, telling colleagues about own funeral attendance practices, having discussions with colleagues about funeral attendance, having long relationships with patients, and having a majority of patients at the end of life. Nonattendance was predicted by believing that if they cannot attend all funerals, they prefer not to attend any, feeling that colleagues disapprove of funeral attendance, believing that attending funerals is crossing the line between the personal and the professional, and being a psychologist.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings emphasize the need for more open discussions and reflection among individuals and groups of health practitioners regarding attendance at funerals. Understanding the motivations of physicians, nurses, social workers, and other allied health practitioners to attend or not attend patient funerals is an important first step in working toward policies, protocols, and guidelines to support best practice.
PMID: 30412446 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]