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Caring for older people with dementia reliving past trauma
Sophiahemmet University.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0553-199X
Sophiahemmet University.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5923-8764
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2019 (English)In: Nursing Ethics, ISSN 0969-7330, E-ISSN 1477-0989, article id 969733019864152Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: The occurrence of behavioural changes and problems, and degree of paranoid thoughts, are significantly higher among people who have experienced extreme trauma such as during the Holocaust. People with dementia and traumatic past experiences may have flashbacks reminding them of these experiences, which is of relevance in caring situations. In nursing homes for people with dementia, nursing assistants are often the group of staff who provide help with personal needs. They have firsthand experience of care and managing the devastating outcomes of inadequate understanding of a person's past experiences.

AIM: The aim was to describe nursing assistants' experiences of caring for older people with dementia who have experienced Holocaust trauma.

RESEARCH DESIGN: A qualitative descriptive and inductive approach was used, including qualitative interviews and content analysis.

PARTICIPANTS AND RESEARCH CONTEXT: Nine nursing assistants from a Jewish nursing home were interviewed.

ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS: The study was approved by the Regional Ethical Review Board, Stockholm.

FINDINGS: The theme 'Adapting and following the survivors' expression of their situation' was built on two categories: Knowing the life story enables adjustments in the care and Need for flexibility in managing emotional expressions.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: The world still witnesses genocidal violence and such traumatic experiences will therefore be reflected in different ways when caring for survivors with dementia in the future. Person-centred care and an awareness of the meaning of being a survivor of severe trauma make it possible to avoid negative triggers, and confirm emotions and comfort people during negative flashbacks in caring situations and environments. Nursing assistants' patience and empathy were supported by a wider understanding of the behaviour of people with dementia who have survived trauma.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. article id 969733019864152
Keywords [en]
Dementia, nursing home, professional caregivers, survivors, trauma
National Category
Nursing
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URN: urn:nbn:se:shh:diva-3446DOI: 10.1177/0969733019864152PubMedID: 31462155OAI: oai:DiVA.org:shh-3446DiVA, id: diva2:1352267
Available from: 2019-09-18 Created: 2019-09-18 Last updated: 2019-09-18Bibliographically approved

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