Into the abyss of someone else's dying: The voice of the end-of-life caregiver

Linda R. Phillips, Pamela G. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This study was undertaken to better understand family caregivers' perspectives of providing end-of-life (EOL) care to elders facing expected deaths from life-limiting, chronic illnesses, and the study involved understanding the nature of EOL caregiving using caregivers' own words. The study employed a cross-sectional, exploratory descriptive design. The data source was intensive interviews with 27 EOL caregivers. Eight themes were extracted from data that exemplify the core characteristics of EOL caregiving. The themes intersected at a central idea expressed in the voice of one caregiver as ĝ€ jumping... into the abyss of someone else's dying.ĝ€ Data suggested that caregivers of elders with life-limiting illnesses needed nursing guidance about EOL care earlier than it is usually provided and that all nurses providing care to elders in any setting should be ready to offer early education in the practical, technical, and emotional dimensions of end-of-life caregiving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-97
Number of pages18
JournalClinical nursing research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • End-of-life family caregiving
  • Family care of aging adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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