In Sweden, individuals affected by severe stroke are treated in specialized stroke units. In these units, patients are attended by a multiprofessional team with a focus on care in the acute phase of stroke, rehabilitation phase, and palliative phase. Caring for patients with such a large variety in condition and symptoms might be an extra challenge for the team. Today, there is a lack of knowledge in team experiences of the dilemmas that appear and the consequences that emerge. Therefore, the purpose of this article was to study ethical dilemmas, different approaches, and what consequences they had among healthcare professionals working with the dying patients with stroke in acute stroke units. Forty-one healthcare professionals working in a stroke team were interviewed either in focus groups or individually. The data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using content analysis. The ethical dilemmas that appeared were depending on "nondecisions" about palliative care or discontinuation of treatments. The lack of decision made the team members act based on their own individual skills, because of the absence of common communication tools. When a decision was made, the healthcare professionals had "problems holding to the decision." The devised and applied plans could be revalued, which was described as a setback to nondecisions again. The underlying problem and theme was "communication barriers," a consequence related to the absence of common skills and consensus among the value system. This study highlights the importance of palliative care knowledge and skills, even for patients experiencing severe stroke. To make a decision and to hold on to that is a presupposition in creating a credible care plan. However, implementing a common set of values based on palliative care with symptom control and quality of life might minimize the risk of the communication barrier that may arise and increases the ability to create a healthcare that is meaningful and dignified.
Every day situations arising in health care contain ethical issues influencing care providers' conscience. How and to what extent conscience is influenced may differ according to how conscience is perceived. This study aimed to explore the relationship between perceptions of conscience and stress of conscience among care providers working in municipal housing for elderly people. A total of 166 care providers were approached, of which 146 (50 registered nurses and 96 nurses' aides/enrolled nurses) completed a questionnaire containing the Perceptions of Conscience Questionnaire and the Stress of Conscience Questionnaire. A multivariate canonical correlation analysis was conducted. The first two functions emerging from the analysis themselves explained a noteworthy amount of the shared variance (25.6% and 17.8%). These two dimensions of the relationship were interpreted either as having to deaden one's conscience relating to external demands in order to be able to collaborate with coworkers, or as having to deaden one's conscience relating to internal demands in order to uphold one's identity as a 'good' health care professional.