ERIC Number: ED194919
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Oct
Teaching Death Management Skills: Health Professionals Confront Patient Avoidance Behavior.
Lanham, Raymond; And Others
Health professionals tend to view dying patients with two intertwined attitudes. On one hand the patient possesses an irreversible pathological condition and the doctor is obliged to help that patient embrace death with as much dignity as possible. On the other hand, the patient's imminent death is daily testimony to the limits of the doctor's competence. To avoid negative criticism from both patient and peers, the doctor often engages in avoidance behavior by stereotyping patients as to how well or how poorly they react to knowledge of death. If a patient establishes a trust relationship with a nurse, the nurse is more likely to disclose details of the diagnosis. Many nurses, however, engage in avoidance behavior similar to that of the doctors. A successful course in effective communication between patient and professional would (1) reduce the defensiveness a professional may feel toward peer and patient evaluation, (2) acquaint the professional with death by exposing him or her to a dying patient, (3) enable the professional to listen effectively to the ways the patient is handling death, and (4) enable the professional to structure appropriate response to the above. These goals might best be achieved in a hospice setting by a counselor who can alert the professional to signals patients give indicating the extent to which they have structured their dying experience. (HTH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Meeting of the Speech Communication Association of Ohio (Columbus, OH, October 10-11, 1980).