Heideggerian hermeneutics is used to illuminate the dialogues of 23 participants who experienced the death of a family member in the critical care unit within the past year. Those constructs that were considered helpful and satisfying during the process of losing the family member included information from the hospital staff, support from the family, and unrestricted visits. Those that were considered unhelpful and dissatisfying during the process of losing the family member included inaccessibility of the physician, cause of death, inadequate treatment, uncaring staff, and not being present at time of death. Constructs that were considered helpful and satisfying in the time since death were family, friends, and clergy. Those that were considered unhelpful and dissatisfying since death included legal/financial problems, dealing with bureaucracies, dealing with other bereaved family members, funeral homes, and organ donation.
Chair and Associate Professor Department of Nursing University of Tennessee at Martin Martin, Tennessee