What is a “secure base” when death is approaching? A study applying attachment theory to adult patients’ and family members’ experiences of palliative home care
2012 (English)In: Psycho-Oncology, ISSN 1057-9249, E-ISSN 1099-1611, Vol. 21, no 8, 886-895 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Attachment theory has received much interest lately in relation to how adults cope with stress and severe illness. The aim of this study was using the experiences of patients and family members to explore palliative home care as a ‘secure base’ (a central concept within the theory).
Twelve patients and 14 family members were interviewed during ongoing palliative home care. The interviews were analysed with deductive qualitative content analysis.
Informants expressed the relevance of sensing security during palliative home care because death and dying were threats that contributed to vulnerability. Palliative home care could foster a feeling of security and provide a secure base. This was facilitated when informants had trust in staff (e.g. due to availability and competence in providing symptom relief), felt recognised as individuals and welcomed to contact the team in times of needs. Being comfortable, informed and having an everyday life also contributed to a perception of palliative home care as a secure base. Family members stressed the importance of being relieved from responsibilities that were too heavy. The underlying meanings of experiencing palliative home care as a secure base involved gaining a sense of control and of inner peace, perceiving that despite a demanding and changed life situation, one could continue partially being oneself and having something to hope for, even if this no longer concerned cure for the ill person.
Important aspects of palliative home care as providing a secure base were identified and these have implications for clinical practice. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2012. Vol. 21, no 8, 886-895 p.
cancer; oncology; secure base; palliative; attachment theory
Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-70686DOI: 10.1002/pon.1982ISI: 000306896500011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-70686DiVA: diva2:441055
funding agencies|Medical Research Council of Southeast Sweden|FORSS-5775|2011-09-142011-09-142015-06-10Bibliographically approved