Evid Based Nurs 4:32 doi:10.1136/ebn.4.1.32
  • Qualitative

Patients, family members, and providers identified 6 components of a “good death”

 QUESTION: What are the attributes of a “good death” as understood by patients, families, and providers involved in end of life care?


Grounded theory.


Durham, North Carolina, USA.


75 participants (age range 26–77 y, 64% women, 70% white, 61% Protestant) were recruited from a university medical centre, a Veterans Affairs medical centre, and a community hospice. Participants included 27 nurses, 10 social workers, 8 hospice volunteers, 6 chaplains, 6 physicians, 14 patients, and 4 bereaved family members.


12 focus groups of 6–8 participants, stratified by role and race, were held over a 4 month period until data saturation occurred. Participants were asked to discuss their experiences of the deaths of family members, friends, or patients and to reflect on what made those deaths good or bad. After analysing focus group transcripts, 2 members from each group (the most and least talkative) were interviewed; no new themes emerged. Focus groups and interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and analysed using the constant comparative method.

Main findings

Participants identified 6 components of …

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