Anticipatory grieving is the process of preparing for a death and accepting the reality. It includes adjustment to the news of impending death, recognition of the gradual process of dying, coming to terms with loss, and taking the necessary steps to prepare for the person’s death. A nursing care plan or a model for anticipatory grieving may help guide an individual’s response during this time.
A nursing assessment involves involving an evaluation of the patient’s physical, psychological, spiritual, and social needs. Physical assessment including signs of impending death, sense of comfort, duty of care are usually considered. Psychological assessment takes into account the individual’s mental state related to the impending death. Spiritual assessment allows understanding of the patient’s hopes, beliefs, and will power, which are important in the stages of grieving.
A nursing diagnosis may classify individual responses to news of impending death as spiritual distress, anxiety, altered sleep-wake pattern, and distorted body image. The diagnosis also takes into account their physical health and includes symptom control, adequate nutrition, and measures to ease discomfort from pain.
The goals or outcomes of anticipatory grieving include psychological and spiritual acceptance of the impending death, resolution of the impending death, and resolution of associated issues. Additionally goals include objective realization of cognitive and behavioural strategies that assist in coping, preparing for death, and receiving care in the dying process.
Interventions to ensure successful anticipatory grieving should include providing emotional support, providing information and resources, exploring spiritual and cultural components, assisting with decision making, and providing end-of-life plans. The interventions should focus on helping the patient cope with the news, accepting their situation, and learning how to manage effectively without delay.
These interventions provide psychological, spiritual, and physical comfort to the patient and address their needs adequately. They allow family members approval, encourage self-care, and allow the patient to come to peace with their situation as they die. This also minimizes grief, anxiety, and any other psychological, physical, and spiritual distress experienced in anticipation of death.
The patient or family will have achieved a successful anticipatory grieving when they have accepted the reality of the pending death, demonstrated positive behaviors and resilience, and taken necessary steps in preparation for death. In addition, the individual’s continued support through the dying process should be evaluated.
It is important for nurses to have an adequate care plan for patients facing death, so as to mitigate any psychosocial, physical, and spiritual distress encountered in anticipation of death. A nurse should identify the needs of the patient, act appropriately and promptly to meet those needs.
- What is closing care? Closing care is the act of providing comfort and dignity in the last days of life, and can include activities such as encouraging family members to spend time with the patient as well as providing spiritual support.
- What is anticipatory grieving? Anticipatory grieving is the process of preparing for a death and accepting its reality. It includes the steps to prepare for impending death and could involve understanding the stages of dying and making end-of-life plans.
- What is an example of a nursing intervention? Examples of nursing interventions include providing emotional support, providing information and resources, exploring spiritual and cultural components, assisting with decision- making and providing end-of-life plans.
- What is the goal of anticipatory grieving? The goals of anticipatory grieving include obtaining psychosocial and spiritual acceptance, working towards resolution of the matters associated with impending death and developing specific strategies for effective coping.
- How is anticipatory grieving evaluated? The patient or family members will have achieved a successful anticipatory grieving when they have accepted the reality of the impending death and determined the steps to prepare for it. Continued support in the dying process should also be evaluated.