Date of Paper

5-2014

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Jessica Toft

Abstract

Currently, more than 1.4 million people are considered long term care residents in the United States and one in five deaths happen in long term care facilities (Nursing Home Statistics, 2013). The purpose of this study will be to understand the types of grief and loss experienced by family members, as well as gain awareness of bereavement support systems in long term care facilities, what the support systems entail and what, if any, the barriers are to providing support. The research design was qualitative research with interviews. This design was chosen due to the exploratory nature of the research question. The researcher interviewed eight subjects; five social workers and three chaplains. The interview was a semi-structured format, guided by a set of questions. The researcher used a grounded theory-based approach to analyze the transcripts of the discussions. The qualitative interviews reflect the lack of bereavement services provided to families whose loved one has passed away in a long term care facility. Respondents feel there is a greater need for these services. They also feel there isn’t sufficient time to invest in the support services and that they lack funding. There are many common needs during bereavement. While some experience different types of grief, they all need some form of support to cope with their loss. Long term care facilities should have a relationship with bereaved individuals when their loved one dies. Data suggests there is a need for bereavement services that offer different types of supports in long term care settings but there are barriers that influence program development and accessibility.

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