'Because we see them naked' – nurses' experiences in caring for hospitalized patients with dementia: Considering artificial nutrition or hydration (anh)

Bioethics 26 (6):285-295 (2011)
The aim of this study was to explore and describe how Flemish nurses experience their involvement in the care of hospitalized patients with dementia, particularly in relation to artificial nutrition or hydration (ANH). We interviewed 21 hospital nurses who were carefully selected from nine hospitals in different regions of Flanders. ‘Being touched by the vulnerability of the demented patient’ was the central experience of the nurses, having great impact on them professionally as well as personally. This feeling can be described as encompassing the various stages of the care process: the nurses' initial meeting with the vulnerable patient; the intense decision-making process, during which the nurses experienced several intense emotions influenced by supporting or hindering contextual factors; and the final coping process, a time when nurses came to terms with this challenging experience. From our examination of this care process, it is obvious that nurses' involvement in ANH decision-making processes that concern patients with dementia is a difficult and ethically sensitive experience. On the one hand, the feeling of ‘being touched’ can imply strength, as it demonstrates that nurses are willing to provide good care. On the other hand, the feeling of ‘being touched’ can also imply weakness, as it makes nurses vulnerable to moral distress stemming from contextual influences. Therefore, nurses have to be supported as they carry out this ethically sensitive assignment. Practical implications are given
Keywords dementia  nursing  artificial nutrition and/or hydration  experiences  qualitative research  end‐of‐life
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,351
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Kate Jones (2006). Strengthening Professional Practice. Chisholm Health Ethics Bulletin 12 (1):4.

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    6 ( #162,810 of 1,088,378 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,601 of 1,088,378 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.