Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type

DNP Project



Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Catherine Garner

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Tonja Hartjes

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Linda Gibson


The death of someone we love is a life-altering experience and may happen in a variety of settings. Hospice patients may die in their homes with their loved ones caring for them in their last moments of life. Families may receive a visit at the time of death from their hospice nurse. Few studies have been conducted looking at the lived experiences of home hospice families that have received a visit at the time of death from hospice. To better meet these families’ needs, the researcher conducted a study to explore and better understand their lived experiences. A qualitative phenomenological approach was used with Jean Watson’s human caring theory providing the theoretical framework for the study. Eight letters were mailed to eight participants who agreed to participate in a telephone interview lasting less than one hour. I developed an open-ended interview guide to assist with the interview. The participants were the patient’s primary caregivers and had lost their loved one between six and 13 months prior. Data were analyzed, and themes emerged under the headings of reason for time of death visit, meaningful tasks, and bereavement. Results showed families most desired to have someone present to handle the details and provide support. Showing respect for the person who had died was an important theme, as was the desire to have their loved one’s death verified. Recommendations include educating hospice staff on the findings and hospice clinicians developing a time of death plan of care with families based on the study findings. By establishing the time of death plan of care, the family can be aware of what the time of death visit can provide to them for support and make decisions before the moment of death.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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