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  2. Family Caregiver Perspectives on End-of-Life Dreams and Visions during Bereavement: A Mixed Methods Approach

Family Caregiver Perspectives on End-of-Life Dreams and Visions during Bereavement: A Mixed Methods Approach

Background: End-of-life dreams and visions (ELDVs) are prevalent experiences that provide comfort and meaning to dying individuals. Limited research has examined the impact of ELDVs on the bereaved. Objective: This study aimed to explore differences in self-reported grief for people whose loved ones shared ELDVs and those who did not, and to describe the role of ELDVs in the grieving process. Design: Mixed-methods cross-sectional survey. Settings/Subjects: A total of 228 bereaved family caregivers (FCGs) of patients who died while under the care of a comprehensive hospice program were recruited. Measurements: Demographics and ELDV prevalence were collected. Bereavement was assessed using the Core Bereavement Items (CBI) a validated measure. Impact on grief was also evaluated using an ad hoc tool. Results: Comfort from dreams significantly related to total CBI score (r = 0.224, p = 0.047) as well as the images and thoughts (r = 0.258, p = 0.025) and acute separation subscales (r = 0.224, p = 0.047). Comfort from dreams had a positive relationship with accepting the reality of loss (r = -0.511, p < 0.001), working through the pain of grief (r = -0.556, p < 0.001), adjusting to the new environment (r = -0.405, p = 0.001), and continuing bonds (r = -0.538, p < 0.001). CBI scores were not significantly different between caregivers who reported loved ones with ELDVs and others. Open-ended responses were thematically analyzed resulting in three emergent themes: comfort, reflection and emotions, and sense-making. Conclusions: ELDVs' impact extends beyond those experiencing them to bereaved loved ones. Bereaved FCGs report that comforting ELDVs experienced by their dying loved ones influenced their grief process in terms of the Worden's tasks of mourning.

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Mary Ann Liebert Inc
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Journal Of Palliative Medicine
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