Understanding Grief and Loss (Nursing)

by Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

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    00:01 Let's explore the topics today of grief and loss.

    00:05 So while this presentation, we're just going to give you a baseline understanding of what your patient may experience during these two topics.

    00:14 So, we talk about loss, it's important for nurses to begin to understand their own feelings about grief and death, in order to really understand and support their patient.

    00:25 Now, just know there are different types of loss, and each individual may feel one is more important over the other, and again, this is going to vary.

    00:34 But just know as a nurse that each type of loss may be priority and mean a lot to the patient.

    00:40 So consider that when caring for your client.

    00:43 So we talk about loss, one type of loss is called actual.

    00:47 This could be necessary across the lifespan meaning death, for example, and this could be a natural occurrence.

    00:54 Where sometimes with loss, it can be situational.

    00:57 This can be sudden, unpredictable.

    01:00 This can be a sudden loss of vision, maybe an amputation due to an accident, or even an object.

    01:06 So again, each type of loss may be really important to your patient.

    01:10 So make sure you assess your client.

    01:13 And don't forget about perceived loss.

    01:16 This is defined by the individual experiencing loss such as maybe even a friendship, independence, or some sort of freedom.

    01:23 Don't forget that perceived loss can be just as important that as actual loss for some clients.

    01:31 Now, when we talk about grief, this is an emotional response to some sort of loss.

    01:36 This is going to vary quite widely, depending on the individual's personal experiences, maybe their cultural expectations, or their beliefs.

    01:48 When we talk about the topic of grief and loss.

    01:51 Many times this theory comes into mind the Five Stages of Dying.

    01:55 You may hear the term of Kübler-Ross stages of dying.

    02:00 This is where the person that's dying, or a person experiencing a loss will experience these, these five stages of grief.

    02:08 So many times it can be with a patient's loved one that's lost, and this may start with denial.

    02:14 Meaning they can't believe it has happened, they're not really understanding, and that can sometimes turn to anger.

    02:22 Now, after the anger phase, if the patient has spiritual beliefs, or certain spiritual health, there may be some bargaining in there that can happen.

    02:31 Then once this occurs, again, depression can occur for this patient, and eventually, after some time, maybe acceptance.

    02:39 Now, one key thing to know about these five stages of dying in grief, is that the timeframe, there is no certain one and no specific timeframe for each individual.

    02:50 Each stage may vary for each individual, some may take longer than others, and it completely depends on the patient's cultural beliefs or their spiritual beliefs.

    03:00 And as you can see, on this image, there are so many factors that influences loss and grief for a client.

    03:08 One of them could be the developmental stage, just their personal relationships, what kind of support that they have? That was this someone that was really close to them? Sometimes the nature of loss can be a real big factor here.

    03:22 What I mean by this is maybe if there was an expected loss that was going to occur, and the patient eventually passes, we may expect this and be able to work through those five stages a little bit faster.

    03:35 Whereas, if the nature of loss was situational or sudden, this can be much more detrimental for the patient's coping ability.

    03:44 And therefore, that turns into the coping strategies of the patient.

    03:48 Do they have effective coping strategies to deal with loss and grief? So some additional factors that can influence loss and grief is socioeconomic status.

    03:59 This can play a part if maybe the patient needs extra resources to help deal with the grief.

    04:05 And don't forget certain patients have culture, and ethnicity, and different types of belief patterns or cultural expectations that determine how they handle that loss and grief.

    04:17 Spiritual, and religious belief, and health can also support the patient during that time, and not to mention hope.

    04:25 Now, when we're caring for patients experiencing grief, there may not be a lot of guidelines for this or a right way to do it, but there's four important points to make sure you remember.

    04:35 Just remembering to listen carefully.

    04:38 Many times the patient just needs someone to talk to and taking the time to do this is really important.

    04:44 And also be culturally sensitive.

    04:46 How you may think the patient needs to be displaying the grief, maybe not the way that they need to do that.

    04:53 So just keep that in mind to be culturally competent with this and be sensitive.

    04:58 Now, it's great to relate to the patient, if you've experienced the similar situation.

    05:04 But please make sure you listen carefully and don't project.

    05:08 And of course, use professional and clinical standards whenever available or applicable.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Understanding Grief and Loss (Nursing) by Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN is from the course Nursing Across the Life Span.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Situational loss
    2. Maturational loss
    3. Perceived loss
    4. Independence loss
    1. Allowing the patient to express their grief in their own way and asking the patient what they need to assist in the grieving process
    2. Asking the patient if they want to see a Pastor pray with them
    3. The Registered Nurse recognizes the patient is angry and tells the patient to calm down because anger is not a helpful emotion.
    4. The Registered Nurse is telling the patient about a time they were grieving and how they got through the grief process.
    1. Bargaining
    2. Denial
    3. Anger
    4. Depression
    5. Acceptance

    Author of lecture Understanding Grief and Loss (Nursing)

     Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

    Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

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