The Bereavement Experience for Partners of Patients With Central Nervous System Tumors

Meagan S. Whisenant

Stacey Crane

Mackenzie Stewart

Kathrin Milbury

cancer, central nervous system tumor, bereavement, caregivers, qualitative methods
ONF 2022, 49(2), 151-157. DOI: 10.1188/22.ONF.151-157

Purpose: To describe the experience of caregivers who have lost a partner to a central nervous system (CNS) tumor.

Participants & Setting: 8 bereaved partners of patients with CNS tumors enrolled in a dyadic, behavioral randomized controlled trial at a comprehensive cancer center in the southern United States.

Methodologic Approach: Participants took part in a semistructured qualitative interview to describe the experience of their partner’s death. Descriptive exploratory analysis was used to identify themes emerging from the interviews.

Findings: Themes identified from bereaved participants’ experiences were related to caring for their partner, separating from their partner on patient death, and continuing without their partner following patient death.

Implications for Nursing: Bereaved partners of patients with CNS tumors described how difficult it was to experience the patient’s health decline and feeling unprepared for the patient’s death, regardless of advance notice. Interventions targeting caregiver distress to improve their experience prior to and following the patient’s death are needed.

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