By Barney G. Glaser
Should sufferers learn they're death? How do households react while one in all their participants is dealing with dying? Who should still display that loss of life is impending? How does health facility staff—doctors, nurses, and attendants—act towards the death sufferer and his family?
Death, as a social ritual, is without doubt one of the nice turning issues in human lifestyles, yet ahead of this vintage paintings, it were subjected to little clinical learn. American views on dying appear surprisingly paradoxical—the brutal truth of dying is faced day-by-day in our newspapers but american citizens are unwilling to speak brazenly concerning the means of demise itself. Awareness of death, using a hugely unique thought of understanding, examines the demise sufferer and people approximately him in social interplay, it offers us a language and instruments of research for knowing who understands what approximately loss of life, less than what situations, and what distinction it makes.
The authors use their finely specified observations to strengthen theoretical constructs that would be of use in lots of different interactions and occasions. Awareness of death was the 1st examine of death in hospitals, and has confirmed an invaluable instruction manual for chaplains, social employees, nurses, and medical professionals in confronting the various moral and private difficulties that come up within the death scenario. Now on hand in paperback, it truly is destined to arrive new audiences drawn to this key a part of all life.
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Additional resources for Awareness of Dying
Identification of this kind is quite common, and makes more difficult the staff members’ control of their behavioral cues. Their reactions to the patient’s “social loss” 8 can also be revealing. In our society, certain values are highly esteemed— among them youth, beauty, integrity, talent, and parental and marital responsibility— and when a terminal patient strikingly embodies such values, staff members tend to react to the potential or actual loss to his family or to society. But such reactions must not be allowed to intrude into the fictionalized future biography that is directly and indirectly proffered to the patient.
Various consequences seemed to flow from this generally open situation, including the following: Patients could give each other support; and the staff could support patients. Patients could even raise the flagging spirits of the staff! From their deathbeds, they could thank the physi cians for their unstinting efforts and wish them luck in solving their research problems in time to save other patients. They could close their lives with proper rituals, such as letter writing and praying. They could review their lives and plan realistically for their families’ futures.
Farberow, T a b o o Topics (New York: Atherton Press, 1963), p. 17. 9 Donald Oken, “What to Tell Cancer Patients: A Study of Medical Attitudes,” J o u rn a l o f th e A m e ric a n M e d ic a l A sso cia tio n , 175 (April 1, 1961), pp. 1120-28. See the bibliography cited in his paper for further studies on physician’s tendency not to announce ter minality. See also our further discussion in Chapter 8 of physicians’ announcements. • Closed Aw areness 31 sense telling them directly. Presumably some patients do not wish to know their fates, but there is no really good evidence that all wish to remain in blissful ignorance or that these pa tients will find out while in the hospital.
Awareness of Dying by Barney G. Glaser