End-of-Life Issues, Grief, and Bereavement: What Clinicians Need to Know

End-of-Life Issues, Grief, and Bereavement: What Clinicians Need to Know

End-of-Life Issues, Grief, and Bereavement: What Clinicians Need to Know

End-of-Life Issues, Grief, and Bereavement: What Clinicians Need to Know

Excerpt

End-of-life care is recognized as a critical component of geriatric health care, but is really a component of health across the lifespan. Choices made early in life obviously influence quality of life and decision options at the end of life. The lifespan framework for health care reminds us that end-of-life care is but one more step in a lifelong process. However, awareness that life will end helps us ask questions about values, preferences, choices, and motivations at all ages. Research evidence that death is not as anxiety-provoking for older adults as it was in mid-life does not imply that death awareness is not salient. Indeed, care choices in later life are often viewed differently in the conscious presence of death than in the absence of that awareness. We believe that deep reflection and understanding of end-of-life care enriches clinical understandings of mental health service providers who work with older adults in any context.

Despite its considerable stigma, or perhaps because of it, end-of-life care has ended up being an innovative leader in reconceptualizing health care. Indeed, in recent years, hospice and palliative care models have led the way into integrated care. The models that guide end-of-life care inevitably include multiple disciplines, typically operating as an interprofessional team. The rich interconnectedness of care provided by professionals representing several disciplines has been fostered explicitly in end-of-life care. Many use hospice care as an ideal against which to compare extraordinarily fragmented, pathology-focused, high-tech medical models that dehumanize us at the times when we most need genuine care. Human-to-human care is at the core of excellent health-and wellness-service systems. Ironically, those working at the very end of life seem to have moved farther faster than any other domain of health care in generating new models and standards.

Perhaps it is obvious then why this book is included in Wiley’s Clinical Geropsychology series that is designed to invite and educate practitioners . . .

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