First Advisor

Diana White

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology and University Honors






Terminal care, Terminally ill, Palliative treatment, Nursing -- Psychological aspects




Childlessness is becoming more common and this has important implications for those at the end of life. Literature on hospice and care of people at the end of life is heavily focused on family. A major emphasis of end-of-life care is how to support family members, the family role in providing support, and the influence the family has on the patient. Little research, however, has been conducted to determine the difference in how hospice and palliative care can best be provided to those without a spouse, adult children, or siblings compared to those with family support. This research aims to answer the following questions, “Do the needs and care of people with no family differ from those with family?” If so, “What is the role of nurses in palliative care with individuals without family, and how does the nurse-patient relationship influence their end-of-life experience?” This research, therefore, will explore aspects of the nurse-resident relationship that play a role in providing quality care to this underrepresented demographic. This exploratory research will be conducted through interviews with residents with no close family along with the nurses involved in their care. Nurses will be shadowed so their relationship with residents can be observed. This research was proposed, reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board of Portland State University but was not able to be implemented due to restrictions of COVID-19; this research has been postponed to a further date. This paper will discuss the methods and next steps to complete this research.


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