Who thinks about death? A psychoanalytically informed interpretive study of communication about death among nursing home staff
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonRamvi, E., Lavik, M.H., Gripsrud, B.H. (2021) Who thinks about death? A psychoanalytically informed interpretive study of communication about death among nursing home staff. 10.1080/02650533.2021.1981277
The purpose of the present study was to gain insight into how death is a theme of communication and reflection among staff at a multicultural nursing home. Sixteen interviews with healthcare providers from five nursing homes in Norway were conducted and interpreted through a depth-hermeneutic approach. Our analysis across the dataset yielded an emergent finding related to a prominent lack of communication about death between the healthcare personnel and the patients, as well as among the staff community. We present a psychoanalytically informed interpretation of the absence of talk about death in the nursing homes. Our results indicate the operation of a social defence that helps health care providers maintain distance from anxiety associated with death. Reflection that foregrounds healthcare personnel’s own experiences, feelings and thoughts related to death is needed to encourage staff to open up to, and digest, the various impressions death can generate.