- The many different expressions of death make people believe that death is everywhere and has to be survived.
- Philosophical and ethical dimension is concerned with the question of ethics and values. For example, patients with a terminal illness and excess pain may opt for euthanasia. Euthanasia brings about ethical debates regarding how appropriate it is. Psychological dimension is the emotional and mental impact of death on individuals. For example, if one’s friend dies, the person experiences sorrow and grief. Sociological dimension is concerned with how people come together to cater to the social problems and needs associated with dying and death (DeSpelder, Ann, and Strickland 26). For example, death may cause members of a family to hold meetings for funeral arrangements. Anthropological dimension is the role of environment and culture across space and time regarding how societies and individuals relate to death and dying. For example, some societies associate death with curses. The clinical dimension is the management of death and dying in a medical setting which may relate to prognosis, diagnosis, and relationships between doctors, patients and nurses. For example, cause of death is determined clinically. The political dimension comprises of government policies and actions regarding death and dying. For example, different governments have different policies regarding burials, death certificates etc. The educational dimension involves increasing public awareness on death-related concerns and issues (DeSpelder, Ann, and Strickland 26). For example, statistics may be analyzed through educational approaches.
- Stages of Erikson model
Stage 1: Trust v Mistrust. Death of the child’s parents or guardian leads to lack of trust in people.
Stage 2: Autonomy v Shame & Doubt. Death of a parent may lead to failed development of this stage resulting in shame and self-doubt in the child.
Stage 3: Initiative v Guilt. Parents need to control children at this stage. A parent’s death may lead to the child wanting to exert excess control over their environment leading to disapproval which may lead to guilt.
Stage 4: Industry v inferiority. Death results in a feeling of inferiority.
Stage 5: Identity v role confusion. Death leads to confusion and low confidence.
Stage 6: Intimacy v isolation. Loneliness and isolation may result from a parent’s death since the child does not develop through this stage.
Stage 7: generativity v stagnation. Shallow involvement in the world as a result of death may result.
Stage 8: Integrity v despair. Death of parent leads to failure in this stage leading to bitterness, despair and bitterness.
- Ethnocentricism is the belief that one’s ethnic group is superior to others. It is possible to “get away” from this view by being educated on cultural competence.
- Invisible death refers to the state where death is not “tame” any more. This is because people no longer develop personal or communal resources necessary to accord it some meaning. This invisibility enhances its terror. Invisibility is enhanced by loss of spirituality.
- Elements of a death system include people: people are involved in death of their own or that of others); places: these are the locations in which people die. An example is hospitals. Time is the third element. This is because there are certain days and seasons kept aside for the remembrance of dead people. An example is Memorial Day. The fourth element is objects and symbols. These are things like coffins, black clothes etc.
- Hospices originated from the middle ages when religious orders established shelters (hospices) at major crossroads that led to shrines such as Chartres, Rome and Santiago de Compostela. Hospices offer an extensive range of support and treatment to help cater to terminal and long-term illnesses. Challenges faced by hospices include shortage of trained personnel and inadequate finances.
- Two models which help families cope with life-threatening diseases include: Weisman interrelated task model and Rando behavioral and psychological patterns. Weisman interrelated task involves confronting the problem, keeping open communication and listening to help from others and maintaining hope. Rando’s behavioral and psychological patterns involve retreating to conserve energy, trying to master and control the death threat and exclusion from the death threat.
- Mental aspect of death is concerned with the thought process involved when one is about to die or after another person (loved one, friend or family) dies. Emotional aspect involves the emotions elicited by the person such as sorrow, grief, crying etc. The physical aspect relates to how death or dying affects the physical wellbeing of an individual. Behavior is the manner in which a person acts in response to death or fear of dying. Spiritual aspect includes the beliefs that the person has regarding death based on their spirituality.
- Providing total care involves the process whereby long-term facilities meet all resident needs. This may be achieved by equipping long-term care facilities with necessary personnel, equipment and financial resources. Dying with dignity may be achieved. It involves a non-painful death that is free of suffering.
- Advanced directives make it easy for the patient to communicate to family and friends regarding their wishes on end-of-life. Enforcement of advanced directives is achieved through the effect of the 1991 Patient Self Determination Act which compels care-givers and physicians to carry out the patient’s wishes (Wessels 220).
- Emotion-focused coping comprises of focusing on dealing with the emotions that arise as a result of death or terminal illness. An professional example is coping with grief and sadness through counseling. Problem-focused coping is based on trying to deal with the problem. An example of this is focusing on chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer. Meaning-based coping involves the attempt to change the perception of the individual regarding the terminal illness or death. For example, some people believe that cancer must lead to death. Changing their perception is a meaning-based approach to coping which is applied professionally.
- Cultural competence is the capacity to recognize and respect the cultural, spiritual or intellectual beliefs of others to avoid being overbearing, prejudiced or discriminative.
- The best part on learning about death is that it helps one to demystify it and to realize that it is an inevitable happening which is bound to happen at some time during the course of one’s lifetime.
DeSpelder, Lynne Ann, and Albert Lee Strickland. Study guide for the last dance: encountering death and dying. 6th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2002. Print.
Wessels, Carol J "Treated with Respect: Enforcing Patient Autonomy by Defending Advance Directives." "Marquette Elder's Advisor 6.2 (2005): 216-242. Print.