ERIC Number: ED250738
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Communication Aspects of Hospice Care.
Jensen, Marvin D.
No theories of communication can minimize the crisis of dying. But those who study commmunication can suggest ways of offering comfort and dignity to the dying person. Many of these ways go beyond words, for death cannot be addressed with verbal cliches. The theoretical work from which a communication scholar draws can help hospice volunteers and personnel continue to find and value alternative forms of expression. Although honesty about death is essential to the hospice concept, such openness confronts long standing cultural and medical constraints. The personnel who serve the patient and family can in turn be served by the body of communication research and insight that supports the hospice commitment to honesty. Other information that a communication scholar might offer includes ideas on self-disclosure, particularly references to personalized nursing care; the role of communication in family crises, including their emphasis that honest expression is essential to allow healthy preparatory grief; and an awareness of the nonverbal signals that are often more truthful than words. As the treatment for a dying person moves from cure to comfort, the interaction with that person should move from therapeutic to relational communication. The communication specialist can support this recognition of mutuality by offering insights on helping relationships. Thus, the efforts of a caring team can be strengthened through self-understanding and objective confirmation of tested insights into communication. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Hospice Care
Note: Paper presented at the Conference on Communication Therapy (Clear Lake City, TX, March 1984).