The impact of receiving a family-oriented therapeutic conversation intervention before and during bereavement among family cancer caregivers: A nonrandomized trial

Asta B. Petursdottir, Valgerdur Sigurdardottir, Mary Kay Rayens, Erla Kolbrun Svavarsdottir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Effective communication is the foundation of quality care in palliative nursing. As frontline palliative home care providers, nurses could foster more effective bereavement coping skills through therapeutic conversations. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a nursing intervention offered to bereaved family cancer caregivers. This was a quasi-experimental design, with a posttest-only comparison of the intervention and control groups receiving usual care. Bereaved caregivers (n = 51) receiving services from a specialized palliative home care unit participated and completed measures of depression, anxiety, stress, and grief reactions 3, 5, and 6 months after their close relative had died. There was a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms in the intervention group compared with the control group across all 3 time points. Anxiety and stress symptoms also decreased over time in the 2 groups combined, but this decrease was not observed for depression. When evaluating grief reactions, the intervention group had a lower mean of controlled grief responses, across the posttest period, than the control group. Results demonstrate that providing bereaved family caregivers the opportunity to participate in a therapeutic conversation intervention might reduce distressing symptoms in early bereavement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-391
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Address correspondence to Asta B. Petursdotttir, PhD, RN, Palliative Home Care Unit, Landspitali the National University Hospital, Kopavogsgerdi 6, 200 Kopavogi, Iceland (; The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose. This study was supported by the LUH Scientific Fund, the Scientific Fund of the Nurses Association in Iceland, and the Research Fund of Ingibjorg R. Magnusdottir (no reference numbers on the funding). Author Contributions: All the authors have agreed on the final version and meet at least one of the following criteria (recommended by the ICMJE []):  substantial contributions to conceptions and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data;  drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content. Copyright © 2020 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association. All rights reserved. DOI: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000679

Publisher Copyright:
© Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


  • bereavement
  • cancer
  • caregivers
  • grief
  • palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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