Chapter

Being a carer in acute crisis: the situation for relatives of organ donors

Magi Sque

in Chronic and Terminal Illness: new perspectives on caring and carers

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780192631671
Published online November 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191730191 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192631671.003.0006
Being a carer in acute crisis: the situation for relatives of organ donors

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This chapter discusses the experiences of carers involved in acute crisis from which the outcome is death. This chapter provides a narrative interview study of twenty-four relatives of multi-organ donors who faced the difficulty of accepting the loss of an otherwise healthy family member and the prospect of donating the organs of their beloved. The study used in this chapter sought to provide an understanding of the nature and meaning of having a relative in a critical care situation that ended in organ donation. In this chapter, a theory of ‘dissonant loss’ was developed to explain the type of bereavement experienced by these families and to explicate the needs of the relatives. Another theory, the grounded theory, was also formed to provide an understanding of the relatives's experiences of organ donation. This approach provided a model of client care based on the actual experiences of the persons involved rather than on the perceived problems of the individuals or the perceived relevant issues proposed by professionals who may not have experienced the phenomena themselves.

Keywords: carers; multi-organ donors; organ donation; dissonant loss; acute crisis; donation

Chapter.  10835 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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