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College of Nursing Researchers Work on Interdisciplinary Team to Help Bereaved Caregivers


(L to R) Dr. Lorraine Holtslander and Dr. Shelley Peacock

Many of Canada's almost 1 million family caregivers will experience grief and bereavement after the loss of the person they were caring for. After this person passes away, what does a caregiver experience? An international interdisciplinary team consisting of Primary Investigator (PI) Dr. Lorraine Holtslander (U of S College of Nursing), Co-PI Sharon Baxter (Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association) and Co-Investigators Dr. Shelley Peacock (U of S College of Nursing), Dr. Wendy Duggleby (University of Alberta), Rev Dan Cooper (Regina Qu'Appelle Palliative Care Services), Vicky Duncan (U of S Library) and Dr. Peter Hudson (St. Vincent's Hospital) are working together on their project titled, "Honoring the voices of bereaved caregivers: A metasynthesis of qualitative research with bereaved caregivers" to explore the experiences of those who have given care to a terminally ill family member and have become bereaved.  

Typically the health care system relies heavily on family members to provide care during a terminal illness; however, often when a family member passes away, the caregiver is left to grieve without support.  After an often exhausting and difficult experience, it is important those who have given care have access to appropriate services to receive the support they need during their bereavement.  The ultimate goal of this research project is to understand the needs and experiences of family caregivers during bereavement and provide a foundation for innovative health research, evidence-informed policy and clinical practice guidelines.

"This research will provide many insights into the experiences of family caregivers during bereavement," said Dr. Lorraine Holtslander.  "It is a unique and innovative area of research, with potential to help an underserved and rapidly growing population." The researchers hope the results of the project will have immediate application to practice and policy and fill a gap in quality palliative/end of life care. "I am honoured we received the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Knowledge Synthesis Grant for this project. I am excited to get started working with this interdisciplinary team, as well as many other community collaborators. We look forward to providing meaningful results for clinical practice and to support continuing research in this area."
Co-Investigator Dr. Shelley Peacock had this to say about the project. "With the abundance of research available regarding the end-of-life caregiving experience, we felt it was important for us to combine this work into a meaningful whole to help policy makers and health care professionals working with vulnerable bereaved caregivers. I feel privileged to be included on this important project and look forward to working with the team."

Congratulations Dr. Holtslander, Dr. Peacock and team on the receipt of this CIHR Knowledge Synthesis Grant.