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Staff Perceptions on the Qualities of Meaningful Relationships with Residents at End of Life in Long Term Care
Long Term Care is a place where many people die, and it is the job of the staff members to assist the resident with their dying and death experience. A peaceful transition to death is largely dependent on the relationship between resident and staff members. In order to provide the best dying and death experience for the resident, I sought to explore staff perceptions on the qualities of a meaningful relationship with resident at the end of life. Using interpretive phenomenology as a qualitative research design and Heidegger’s (1962) concept of the lifeworld as a tool of analysis, I uncovered aspects of good ethical care by listening to the people who provide it. I completed a series of nine interviews and depicted staff perceptions of the qualities of their relationships with residents at the end of life. My data analysis uncovered three qualities of staff and resident relationship that positively influenced the dying and death experience for resident. These qualities are fearlessness, meaningful time and vulnerability. Furthermore, these findings reflect the mutual giving and receiving of care for both staff and resident throughout this relationship. Often this complex dynamic can be misunderstood or masked by what ministry standards tell us in how this relationship should look in LTC. My research exposes a different side of care at the end of life. With all the unknowns a resident is faced with at the end of life, the emotional relationship between resident and staff member can be the most comforting.