Can addressing death anxiety reduce health care workers' burnout and improve patient care?

PUBMED ID:

22372283

PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE

Authors:

Melo CG, Oliver D

Institution:

Centre for Professional Practice, University of Kent, Compass Centre South, Chatham Maritime, Chatham, Kent, UK ME4 4YG. carolgouveiamelo@gmail.com

Title:

Can addressing death anxiety reduce health care workers' burnout and improve patient care?

Source

J Palliat Care. 2011 Winter;27(4):287-95

Abstract

Death anxiety may interfere with health care workers' (HCWs) relationships with patients and patients' families and increase HCWs' levels of burnout. This study shows the impact of a six-day course for HCWs that provided training in communication, in offering emotional and spiritual support to patients, and in personal introspection on death anxiety. The HCWs were given questionnaires to evaluate their level of burnout, personal well-being, and death anxiety as well as the quality of their relationships with patients before the course and four months after it. There were 150 study participants, all HCWs involved in caring for dying patients (85 in palliative care units and 65 in other settings). There was a control group of 26 HCWs who cared for the dying in settings other than palliative care units. The results show that the course appeared to lead to a significant reduction in levels of burnout and death anxiety; they also indicated an increase in personal well-being and professional fulfillment, and participants perceived an improvement in the quality of their relationships with patients and patients' families.