Share this page Share
Kleine tekst Medium tekst Grote tekst   
Your location:   Home   >  Home

Tidying rooms and tending hearts: An explorative, mixed-methods study of hospital cleaning staff ’s experiences with seriously ill and dying patients


 

Each month, one article from Palliative Medicine, the EAPC's official research journal, is selected as 'Editor's choice' and the author invited to contribute a short post to the EAPC blog explaining the background to the full article in the journal. This month's 'Editor's choice' is described below with access to the free PDF version.  (You can also read the blog post version here)

Abstract

Background/aim: Palliative care is based on multi-professional team work. In this study, we investigated how cleaning staff communicate and interact with seriously ill and dying patients as well as how cleaning staff cope with the situation of death and dying.

Design: Sequential mixed methods, consisting of semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and a questionnaire. Interviews and focus group discussions were content analyzed and results were used to create a questionnaire. Quantitative data were submitted to descriptive analysis.

Setting: Large university clinic in southern Germany.

Participants: A total of 10 cleaning staff participated in the interviews and 6 cleaning staff took part in the focus group discussion. In addition, three managerial cleaning staff participated in a separate focus group. Questionnaires were given to all cleaning staff (n = 240) working at the clinic in September 2008, and response rate was 52% (125/240).

Results: Cleaning staff described interactions with patients as an important and fulfilling aspect of their work. About half of participants indicated that patients talk with them every day, on average for 1–3 min. Conversations often revolved around casual topics such as weather and family, but patients also discussed their illness and, occasionally, thoughts regarding death with cleaning staff. When patients addressed illness and death, cleaning staff often felt uncomfortable and helpless.

Conclusion: Cleaning staff perceive that they have an important role in the clinic—not only cleaning but also supporting patients. Likewise, patients appreciate being able to speak openly with cleaning staff. Still, it appears that cleaning staff may benefit from additional training in communication about sensitive issues such as illness and death.

Keywords

Palliative care, palliative medicine, patient care team, interprofessional relations, job satisfaction

To download the file, please click here.

This document can be downloaded as pdf files for personal academic use. Anyone wishing to use it for commercial purposes or needing to make multiple copies must contact the publisher of Palliative Medicine - SAGE Publications Ltd, Oliver’s Yard, 55 City Road, London EC1Y 1SP, United Kingdom.
Click here to send an
Email or visit www.uk.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav
 


Written By: Karin Jors, Svenja Tietgen, Carola Xander, Felix Momm and Gerhild Becker
Published: 13-01-2017


Back
Tidying rooms and tending hearts: An explorative, mixed-methods study of hospital cleaning staff ’s experiences with seriously ill and dying patients
  © EAPC Onlus 2010 - All rights reserved.
See the Terms of Use for additional copyright information