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- Caring for dying parents : an existential phenomenological approach
- Paul, Lindsay.
- nursing theory
- medical imaging technology
- Child caregivers--Research
- Existential phenomenology
- Terminally ill parents--Home care
- Terminally ill parents--Research
- La Trobe University.School of Public Health.
- The death of one's parents, irrespective of the age at which it occurs, is generally regarded as a life experience of considerable significance. The last few years of an elderly person's life are often characterized by increasing frailty, declining health and loss of independence. Responsibility for the spiritual and physical care of parents during that period is undertaken by many adult children. Current research in this area is generally informed by the requirements of social policy, which, by identifying and addressing the inherent difficulties in this so-called informal caring, is designed to support carers in the community. The research reported in this thesis represents a departure from this mode of inquiry and seeks, rather, to explore the existential aspects of caring in this particular situation, from the carer's perspective.To achieve this objective, an existential phenomenological approach informed principally by the philosophies of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, and the adaptation of these philosophies by Schutz, Giorgi and van Manen to social science research, was developed to suit the particular requirements of the topic. In addition to the author's autobiographic material, primary sources include conversations with five people who had been principal carers for their parents during their final illnesses. In all cases caring had ended with the parent's death at least one year before the conversations took place. The principal secondary sources are Simone de Beauvoir's memoir, A Very Easy Death, and Philip Roth's account of his father's illness and death, Patrimony: A True Story. In addition, the argument is supported throughout by reference to other literary works. From these sources a number of major existential themes, including temporality, hope, suffering, and knowing the body, have been explored in depth, in conjunction with relevant existential theories. Synthesis of these topics suggests that in this particular circumstance, for the people involved in the study, the phenomenon of caring can be understood as an unconditional engagement with the life and concerns of their parent at the end of life, and can be interpreted within an existential framework as representing an authentic way of Being.
- Paul, Lindsay
- I hereby grant to the La Trobe University. or its agents a non exclusive right to reproduce in the University Libraries archives and to communicate my thesis or dissertation in whole or in part and in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all proprietary rights, such as copyright and patent rights. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis or dissertation.