fisch801: November 2011 Archives

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.

For a couple years now, people have been making claims that pop culture and the media have influenced women to contract eating disorders. While currently there is some research going on to find a biological basis for these disorders, I personally feel that the leading cause is the media's idea of "beauty" and the 20 inch waistlines that are splattered across every newsstand and checkout line. An article published in 2007 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/02/AR2007010200298.html) discusses a study conducted here at the U which "found that girls who were frequent readers of magazine articles about dieting and weight loss were more likely to engage in unhealthy weight-control behaviors five years later." I can say with a significant degree of certainty that having images of underweight "models" (in the fashion sense as well as the observational learning sense) in every ad and photograph causes women to second guess whether or not their body weight is acceptable. In the U's study high school and middle aged girls were surveyed on their height, weight, etc. and several other variables. "The odds of engaging in extreme behaviors such as vomiting or taking laxatives were three times higher in the group that read the most, compared with those who did not read such magazines."
The advertisements themselves are the classic "Bobo doll study" just in a different setting. You see skinny, "beautiful" women being adored by equally attractive guys. The way they look is being rewarded with attention and hunky men, and so young impressionable girls who want both of those things are willing to do just about anything to recreate their "model". Another study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2533817/) , suggested that "Beauty magazines become 'how-to' manuals to help women suffering from eating disorders in their attempts to obtain an elusive and impossible standard of physical thinness."
There have been so many studies involving the media's portrayal of women's bodies and eating disorders it's hard to ignore the claim's replicability. While it is possible that genetics have a hand in things, the most obvious and abundant factor for eating disorders remains, in my opinion, American culture's focus on weight and appearance. Drowning in a sea of Kate Moss spreads and repeatedly being shown images of thinness being rewarded and revered creates a rather simple explanation for women developing eating disorders.

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by fisch801 in November 2011.

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