Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Yale University School of Nursing

First Advisor

J. Mark Lazenby


Background: Little regional data exists on the distress of people nearing the end of their lives and their caregivers. Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe the quality of life and the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of people at the end of life and the sources of distress for their primary caregivers in Gaborone, Botswana, in order to inform current and limited hospice resources and services. Design: This study employed a qualitative design. Setting/Subjects: Twenty-eight primary caregivers who cared for an adult who passed away fewer than 14 months prior to the interview date and were in the care of a non-governmental hospice (NGH) in Botswana were interviewed between June and August 2012. Measurements: Semi-structured interviews and the Quality of Death and Dying (QODD) questionnaire were used. Descriptive analysis and qualitative content analysis was performed. Results: Quality of life of decedents was poor. Emotional and spiritual distress persists at high rates even for those receiving support from an NGH. Caregiver distress arises from practical concerns, including lack of food, clothing, and shelter, and from emotional and spiritual concerns. Conclusions: The practical, emotional, and spiritual needs of people at the end of life in Botswana and their caregivers are not being fully met, with poor overall quality of life among the dying. More research is needed to explore how hospice and home health services and the services of spiritual leaders can be expanded to meet their needs.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access