Hospice = "Good" Grief?

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In the past couple decades home health care and Hospice services have increased tremendously. Death and grieving have always been difficult and painful concepts for families to cope with and Hospice care seems to be the answer to these problems. While many critics of home health care and Hospice exist, studies have shown that this type of specialized end of life care have actually improved many people's experience with the passing of a family member. Most people would agree that learning to deal with grief is essential for mental health. Hospice, for many, has become the catalyst for this.
Ransford & Smith (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/027795369190107N) conducted a study that examined the surviving relatives of those that passed away in either a hospital ward or while receiving Hospice care at home. They were assessed using interviews at 6 and 12 months post death. They were interviewed and assessed on their anxiety levels, alcohol use, social participation and degree to which they took control of their daily lives. Ransford & Smith hypothesized that those who received Hospice care would display more grief resolution that those who's family members passed away in a hospital ward. While there was little difference between the two groups at 6 months, the 12 month assessment showed that the families that received Hospice care were significantly better adjusted that those with the care from hospital wards.
I believe that the reason for this is because Hospice was founded on the principles put forth by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. She developed the five stages of grief and stressed the importance of "death with dignity". The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. From my own personal experience with Hospice, I can testify that the care provided was exceptional. We had a team that consisted of an RN that would ensure all medical problems were taken care of and a social worker that would come and speak with the family twice a week. The social worker would walk us through what we were feeling and helped explain what to expect. When families have their loved one in a hospital ward these types of services aren't always made available or are as accessible as Hospice. So the best way to deal with the loss of a loved one is to talk it out and be ready to deal with the grief that ensues.

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This page contains a single entry by fisch801 published on November 21, 2011 2:49 PM.

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