Dealing with the death of a long term patient; what is the impact and how do podiatrists cope?

Kristy Robson, Cylie Williams

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Objectives
It is common for long-term professional relationships to develop between
podiatrists and patients. Patient’s decline in health or death
may impact a practitioner’s mental wellbeing. The aim of this project
was to understand the impact of long term patient death on podiatrists
and identify coping strategies.
Method
Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to explore the perceptions
of podiatrists on the personal and professional impact following
the death of a long term patient. Individual semi-structured
interviews were conducted with podiatrists across Australia. Inclusion
criteria was that the podiatrist must have been practicing longer than
5 years and who experienced a long term patient die in the previous
12 months. General demographics of recency of practice, gender, state,
Brief Resilience Scale (BRS) and the Abbreviated Maslach Burnout Inventory
(MBI) were collected. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed
verbatim and individually analysed to identify key themes.
Results
Fifteen podiatrists (11 female) with a median of 15 (range 8–50)
year’s experience participated. The mean(SD) BSI was 3.48 (0.94), two
reported MBI scores indicative of emotional exhaustion, no depersonalisation
and all scores indicated personal accomplishment.
Three major themes emerged: acknowledging connections, willing to
share and listen, and creating support through starting the conversation.
Participants indicated importance in recognition of the emotional
influence of professional-patient relationships. They also
discussed the importance of debriefing about death with the right
person, which was most commonly colleagues. Participants talked
about the emotional impact of death, suggesting need for supporting
discussion and resources, especially for new graduates.
Conclusions
Death and dying can be an emotive topic and one which podiatrists
may not be prepared for, yet likely to have to deal. These findings
enable a better understanding of the impact of patient death and
provide possible future directions for the profession to better support
podiatrists in this area
Original languageEnglish
Pages6
Number of pages1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 03 Aug 2017

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