For dying people, everyday activities, including bodily care, shape and are shaped by the experience of being and living a declined body.
Assistance with bodily care necessitates exposure and loss of control of the body. This adds to the vulnerability of living with impending death, which may challeng sense of agency, integrity and self-value.
Experiential outcomes of receiving (or not receiving) bodily care are thus important aspects in relation to wellbeing, and as such, of relevance in the discours regarding quality of specialist palliative care.
To enhance the depth of existing knowledge about meanings and experiential outcomes of bodily care in the context of in-patient specialist palliative care.
Meanings and experiential outcomes of bodily care:
Maintaining and losing body capability.
Breaching borders of bodily integrity.
Being comforted and relieved in bodily care situations.
Being left in distress with unmet needs.
These meanings overlap and shape the nature of
each other and involve comforting and distressing
experiences relating to three conditional dimensions:
the particular situation, own experiences of the body,
and health care professionals’ approaches.
This study accentuates dying persons’ intricate blend of basic and symptom-oriented
bodily care needs and how the intertwinement of these care dimensions influence
whether comfort and wellbeing are facilitated or not.
Palliative care services may consider how to best integrate and acknowledge the value of
skilled basic nursing care as part of, and complementary to expertise in symptom
treatment during the trajectories of illness and dying.
Bodily care includes all the activities that are aimed at reducing the burden of dying, i.e. alleviating suffering, caring for basic physical needs and providing comfort.
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