Assessing death anxiety in employees in a hospice setting
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To measure hospice employees' perceptions of their own death, I implemented the Revised Death Anxiety Scale (RDAS) with a sample of 128 hospice employees. Participants were asked to include other information including age, gender, position and length of time employed in a hospice or palliative care setting. Results from the RDAS were correlated with length of time employed in a hospice or palliative care setting. Other variables and within group differences were considered including the correlation between RDAS scores and age, and the difference between correlations in RDAS scores in nurses and non-nurses. The goal of this study was to determine whether or not a relationship existed between death anxiety and the length of time employed in a hospice or palliative care setting. Results indicated there was a weak negative relationship between these two variables. There was also a weak negative relationship between age and RDAS scores. Lastly, there was not a statistically significant difference between RDAS scores and length of time employed in a hospice or palliative care setting for nurses. There was however a statistically significant negative correlation between these two variables for non-nurses (p=.011). Overall, RDAS scores were average when compared to scores from the original publication of the instrument (Thorson & Powell, 1992). When compared to a more recent study (Halliday & Boughton, 2008), scores in the present study were much lower. Research into death anxiety in hospice and palliative care settings should continue as the hospice movement is still in its infancy and offers a unique death experience. Ultimately, a better understanding of how employees experience their own mortality will allow hospices to better serve their patients and those significant in the patients' lives.
Fear of death
Hospices (Terminal care)--Employees