This qualitative study was informed by role theory and analyzed using Grounded Theory. It explored the lived experience of home health aides who cared for individuals at the end of their lives. In spite of the great and growing need for the services provided by these caring workers and their important place on the interdisciplinary team, research about this population is extremely limited. This study utilized in-depth semi-structured interviews to document the experiences of a purposive and snowball sample of nineteen home health aides who have cared for terminally ill patients and their families. The interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed and analyzed to identify common themes that depict the aspects of the caring work that participants performed. Two primary findings of this study are 1) home health aides develop fictive kinship, kin-like relationships, with the patients and the families they serve, placing them in a position that uniquely combines the personal and professional, but is simultaneously both and neither; and 2) hospice home health aide’s professional identity evolves through a process of interactions with patients, their families and other professional staff, which are combined with imported aspects from their own family lives and cultures. Implications for social work theory, education, practice, policy, and research are offered.
|School:||Adelphi University, School of Social Work|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Gerontology, Social work, Nursing, Occupational psychology, Health care management|
|Keywords:||Caregivers, Coping strategies, End of life care, Fictive kinship, Palliative care, Professional identity|
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