File Name: questions and answers on death and dying .zip
Since the publication of my first book, On Death and Dying Macmillan, , an increasing number of health professionals, lay people, and institutions have become involved with the needs of the terminally ill patient and his family. Over the past five years I have participated in approximately seven-hundred workshops, lectures, and seminars on the care of dying patients.
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Since the publication of my first book, On Death and Dying Macmillan, , an increasing number of health professionals, lay people, and institutions have become involved with the needs of the terminally ill patient and his family.
Over the past five years I have participated in approximately seven-hundred workshops, lectures, and seminars on the care of dying patients. The participants came from every conceivable area of health care. There were physicians, members of the clergy, nurses, social workers, inhalation and occupational therapists, rehabilitation workers, ambulance drivers, funeral directors, as well as lay people who often had experienced the loss of a loved one.
They came to seek answers to the many questions they brought with them. This book is an attempt to answer some of the questions most frequently posed to me by audiences. Where they have been edited, it is only for clarification. A book of this size can never answer all the questions. The most frequently asked questions regard the dying patient, and the largest portion of this book deals with patient-related issues.
The next most frequently asked questions deal with staff problems and interdisciplinary teamwork. Special issues are covered in shorter chapters to make for easier reading. I have specifically excluded chapters on Religion and Life after Death as well as chapters on Bereavment and Grief.
This was done not only because of lack of space, but because there are others who are more qualified to answer these questions. Again, as in my book, On Death and Dying, I have focused almost exclusively on the adult patient. Questions and answers relating to children are in my book, On Children and Death.
With the increasing number of inservice education programs for hospital personnel, seminars for medical students and other health professionals, and pastoral training centers, this book may stimulate discussion in areas where we have too often avoided the issue—not because we do not care, but because we feel so helpless in the face of the many unanswered questions arising at the time of this final crisis.
The dying patient has to pass through many stages in his struggle to come to grips with his illness and his ultimate death. He may deny the bad news for a while and continue to work as if he were as well and strong as before.
He may desperately visit one physician after the other in the hope that the diagnosis was not correct. He may wish to shield his family or his family may want to shield him from the truth. Sooner or later he will have to face the grim reality, and he often reacts with an angry why me to his illness. If we learn to assist this angry patient rather than to judge him—if we learn not to take his anguish as a personal insult—he will then be able to pass to the third stage, the stage of bargaining.
He may bargain with God for an extension of life, or he may promise good behavior and religious dedication if he is spared more suffering. He will try to put his house in order and finish unfinished business before he really admits, This is happening to me. In the depression stage he mourns past losses first and then begins to lose interest in the outside world.
He reduces his interests in people and affairs, wishes to see fewer and fewer people and silently passes through preparatory grief. If he is allowed to grieve, if his life is not artificially prolonged and if his family has learned to let go, he will be able to die with peace and in a stage of acceptance.
Examples of these stages are described in detail in my book, On Death and Dying, Macmillan, The following questions come from patients and relatives, physicians and nurses, and hopefully allow the reader to identify with the patient and to feel more comfortable when he or she is faced with a similar problem. When is the time for an attending physician to tell his terminally ill patient of his diagnosis?
As soon as the diagnosis is confirmed a patient should be informed that he is seriously ill. He should then be given hope immediately, and by this I mean he should be told of all the treatment possibilities.
We usually then wait until the patient asks for more details. If he asks for specifics I would give him an honest, straightforward answer. I do not tell the patient that he is dying or that he is terminally ill.
I simply tell him that he is seriously ill and that we are trying to do everything humanly possible to help him to function as well as he can. Whose responsibility is it to inform the patient of his terminal illness?
The doctor or the minister? No patient should be told that he is dying. I do not encourage people to force patients to face their own death when they are not ready for it.
Patients should be told that they are seriously ill. When they are ready to bring up the issue of death and dying, we should answer them, we should listen to them, and we should hear the questions, but you do not go around telling patients they are dying and depriving them of a glimpse of hope that they may need in order to live until they die. What can be done when the doctor refuses to tell the patient about his terminal illness? Do you suggest that someone else tell the patient? If so, who?
When does the patient begin to die and when, then, does our relationship begin to be one with a dying patient? In our interdisciplinary workshops on death and dying our relationships started with the hospitalization of the patients who had a potentially terminal illness.
I believe, however, that such preparation should start much earlier and that we should teach our children and our young people to face the reality of death. They would then not have to go through all the stages when they are terminally ill and have so little time to deal with unfinished business.
You live a different quality of life, as you do when you have faced your finiteness. One situation which leaves me uncomfortable is when I know a patient has a terminal illness and the family of the patient has not been told. I think it is only fair to know if one is dying. Must we rely on the physician to tell them? A patient has the right to be told how seriously ill he is and I believe that the family also has to be notified of the seriousness of an illness.
It is the physician who has to relay this news to them. If the physician is unable to do so, the patient or the family should then approach other members of a helping profession and ask them.
This is usually the chaplain, the priest, the rabbi, or the nurse. If another member of the helping profession is asked directly by the family or the patient, it is his duty to inform the physician of these needs, and, if necessary, ask that the job be delegated. I try to teach my medical students, externs and interns, early that comatose patients are often able to hear and are quite aware of what is going on in the room. How do you cope with a family who refuses to allow any mention of it to their dying relatives?
I try to sit alone with the patient and then he will relate to me what he has not been able to relate to his own family. We then have to spend extra time sitting with the family separately and attempting to help them to deal with the situation which the patient has already faced.
I took care of a terminal cancer patient about two years ago who asked questions like, How sick am I? He had tears in his eyes when he said this. Would you care to comment on this kind of situation? Yes, I think this is a very caring physician who obviously is involved and who obviously is bothered that this patient is not going to get well. I would express my empathy to him. I would tell him that it must be very hard to take care of patients like this.
Then I would very gingerly ask him if it is all right if I talk with her. He may then give you permission to talk with her because he is apparently too upset to do it himself. What do you say? The patient will then proceed to say he has worked all his life long, that he was just ready for retirement and why is it happening now. Or he will say, My children are too young; they have not even started high school yet. If God would give me only a few more years to live to see my children grow up.
If you sit there and listen, the patient will do most of the talking. All this will help him to express his feelings. How do you work with a patient who tells you about terrible pains and shows you the lumps? You do not approach a patient about death. You wait until he brings up the topic of death and dying. If he talks about his pain, you talk about his pain. If he expresses a fear of death, you sit down and listen to him and ask what he is specifically afraid of.
Open navigation menu. Close suggestions Search Search. User Settings. Skip carousel. Carousel Previous. Carousel Next. What is Scribd? Find your next favorite book Become a member today and read free for 30 days Start your free 30 days. Book Information Home Books Psychology. Create a List. Download to App. Ratings: Rating: 4. Length: pages 3 hours. Description On Death and Dying is one of the most important books ever written on the subject and is still considered the bench-mark in the care of the dying.
It became an immediate bestseller, and Life magazine called it "a profound lesson for the living. She discusses accepting the end of life, suicide, terminal illness, euthanasia, how to tell a patient he or she is critically ill, and how to deal with all the special difficulties surrounding death.
Questions and Answers on Death and Dying is a vital resource for doctors, nurses, members of the clergy, social workers, and lay people dealing with death and dying. Social Science.
Free Statement of Participation on completion of these courses. If you create an account, you can set up a personal learning profile on the site. What is death like around the world? How do we know what the causes and circumstances of death are globally? Are these changing, and if so, why? We will try to find the answers to these questions in this short module.
Donate Shop. Knowing that you have a short time to live raises many questions. Sometimes, you may not be sure if you want to know the answers. This section discusses some of the questions you may want to ask when you feel ready. Some people want to know how long they have left to live. Others prefer not to know. Knowing can help you prepare for and plan the time you have left.
Dying is a process. It involves the cessation of physical, psychological, social and spiritual life here on earth. What happens beyond death is unknown to those reading this book. Typically, before a person dies, there is a cascade of events that are collectively known as the dying process. The dying process is the transition that a person goes through that ultimately ends in death. Patients who know that they are dying will usually make their wishes known about where they want to spend their final days and hours. Advanced illnesses and diseases that are terminal differ in the way they progress from person to person.
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This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables. Since publishing On Death and Dying in , Dr.
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