Understanding grief and loss in caring for older adults

Peter Donahue, Director, School of Social Work, King’s University College
Oct 2018 – ongoing

Background and Purpose

This study seeks to find out how to better support staff who work with people with chronic illness or who are at the end of life and how to better respond to staff who are grieving the death or loss of someone in their care.

The specific goals are:
  • To examine the impact of grief and loss on McCormick Care Group staff
  • To understand the impact of grief and loss on employment-related issues (e.g., job retention, absenteeism)
  • To understand what staff do to cope with the grief and loss they experience
  • To identify organizational practices that currently support staff
  • To determine what types of services and supports staff would like to see put in place to assist them in dealing with the grief and loss they experience
  • To understand what the barriers may be to supporting staff in dealing with issues related to grief and loss (e.g., time, costs, and policies)
Participants and Methods

Thirty staff members, 20 from McCormick Home and 10 from the McCormick Day Program across all job categories were interviewed. Questions explore whether staff have different experiences and needs depending upon where they work or whether they are full or part time. A semi-structured interview guide and a brief demographic questionnaire were used in the assessment.

Findings

The interviews were audiotaped and transcribed and are currently being coded and analyzed.


If you have any questions, please contact Steve Crawford, CEO, McCormick Care Group, at 519-432-2648 ext. 2319, or by e-mail at scrawford@mccormickcare.ca