Margaret Wilkinson, Hilda Vember

International Journal of Palliative Nursing, Vol. 19, Iss. 10, 25 Oct 2013, pp 488 - 494

Aim: This study aimed to explore and gain insight into the perceptions and expectations of family members of terminally ill patients pertaining to the use of syringe drivers. Background: There is a lack of research regarding the use of syringe drivers in Africa and, more specifically, South Africa. However, syringe drivers have been in use for around two decades in some South African settings. Some family members' ambivalence about the use of syringe drivers and the lack of research prompted this study. Method: A qualitative exploratory research design was used. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews, diaries, observation, and documentation. Thematic analysis and coding were used to analyse the data. Results: Four main themes were identified: the rationale for the need for the syringe driver, positive perceptions pertaining to the use of the syringe driver, negative perceptions, and concerns/anxieties. The study also highlighted the challenges of drug addiction in some households when caring for terminally ill patients. Conclusion: The need for more continuous education and written information and support for immediate and extended family members was evident.

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