Helping Patient with Death Anxiety in Living With Dying, A Handbook For End-Of-Life Healthcare Practitioners by Zilberfein and Hurwitz

1466 WordsFeb 21, 20186 Pages
In chapter 15 of Living With Dying, A Handbook For End-Of-Life Healthcare Practitioners, Zilberfein and Hurwitz (2004) examine the dread that often accompanies the thought of dying and present ways to assist terminal patients who are experiencing “death anxiety”. Specifically, the authors examine the assessment of patients’ fear of dying and attempt to address these fears thoroughly and creatively, while accompanying their patients on a passage with no well-defined destination. Death anxiety is a multifaceted nervousness that can include fear of the process of dying, the death in itself, and what happens after death (Zilberfein and Hurwitz, 2004). Yalom (2002) writes that the fear of death haunts each individual throughout life and that many people build denial-based defense mechanisms in order to cope with an ever-present awareness of death. The process of dying is both known and unknown, and nowhere is death anxiety more apparent than in patients suffering from terminal illness. According to Zilberfein and Hurwitz (2004), fear in patients suffering from fatal diseases can cause: (1) dependency, (2) increased chronic pain, (3) a loss of sense of control, and (4) significant attention paid to the question of what “lies ahead”. Along similar lines, Adelbratt and Strang (2000) conducted a study exploring how patients and their next-of-kin experience death anxiety. They found that thoughts central to this nervousness include fear related to the loss of autonomy and unknown

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