ERIC Number: ED296418
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Nonverbal Communication in Hospice Care.
Jensen, Marvin D.
Hospice care (health care for the terminally ill that emphasizes emotional support for the patient and family) is essential to ease emotional, psychological, and social pain, and can be a factor in addressing spiritual and physical pain. Yet to ease the pain of final illness, therapeutic communication must extend beyond words. Physical contact--in the form of reassuring, affirming touch--is essential in addressing the psychological pain of a hospice patient. The relief of psychological or emotional pain is also dependent on the environment where communication occurs. The philosophy of all hospices is that patients should remain in their own home as long as possible. However, when patients need to leave their homes, the hospice environment should be essentially different from a hospital, with designs to include maximum natural lighting, fireplaces, wood-paneled ceilings, small gardens, and common entrances for patients, staff, and families. Personal objects are also important in a hospice room, where they preserve self-definition against the threat of institutional uniformity. Photographs, books, antiques, throw rugs, and pets are not just surface pleasantries, but are ways of sustaining and expressing the person who is more than a body. Scholars of nonverbal behavior can be helpful to the hospice movement by learning from professional and lay care-givers who have intuitively incorporated nonverbal communication into their efforts. Patients themselves are also valuable sources of insight. (MM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Caregiver Role; Health Communication; Hospice Care; Terminal Illness
Note: Paper presented at the Conference on Medical Communication (Harrisonburg, VA, October 15, 1985).