Lisa C Lindley, Mary Lou Fornehed, Sandra J Mixer

International Journal of Palliative Nursing, Vol. 19, Iss. 11, 22 Nov 2013, pp 535 - 540

Background: Hospice nurses have a unique role in providing perinatal care, yet little is known about the work environment in which nurses provide care for families and infants at the end of life. Objective: To compare the nurse work environment between perinatal and non-perinatal hospices. Methods: Data from the 2007 US National Home and Hospice Care Survey was used. The sample included 526 US hospice agencies. Comparisons were calculated using the Pearson chi-square and Wald tests. Results: A majority of hospices provided perinatal care (60%). Compared with non-perinatal hospices, the perinatal nurse work environment had a significantly higher proportion of registered nurses (mean 0.87 vs mean 0.79), along with clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners to support them (95.6% vs 84.9%). Nurses within perinatal care providers worked in a climate of significantly greater safety (95.6% vs 84.9%) and technology (63.7% vs 47.1%). Conclusions: Understanding the unique perinatal hospice nurse work environment may be essential for advancing knowledge and compassion for mothers and babies at the end of life.

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