Dealing with grief related to loss by death and chronic pain: An integrated theoretical framework. Part 1
Bodil Furnes, Elin Dysvik
University of Stavanger, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Health Studies, Stavanger, Norway
Objective: Based on the present authors’ research and several approaches to grief related to loss by death and nonmalignant chronic pain, the paper suggests a new integrated theoretical framework for intervention in clinical settings.
Methods: An open qualitative review of the literature on grief theories was performed searching for a new integrated approach in the phenomenological tradition. We then investigated the relationship between grief, loss and chronic nonmalignant pain, looking for main themes and connections and how these could be best understood in a more holistic manner.
Results: Two main themes were formulated, “relearning the world” and “adaptation”. Between these themes a continuous movement emerged involving experience such as: “despair and hope”, “lack of understanding and insight”, “meaning disruption and increased meaning”, and “bodily discomfort and reintegrated body”. These were identified as paired subthemes.
Conclusions: Grief as a distinctive experience means that health care must be aimed at each individual experience and situation. Grief experience and working with grief are considered in terms of relearning the world while walking backwards and living forwards, as described in our integrated model. We consider that this theoretical framework regarding grief should offer an integrated foundation for health care workers who are working with people experiencing grief caused by death or chronic pain.
Keywords: health care, loss, grief
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