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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 21

of 'Communication of prognosis in palliative care'

Perspectives on preparedness for a death among bereaved persons.
Barry LC, Prigerson HG
Conn Med. 2002 Nov;66(11):691-6.
OBJECTIVE: To present opinions of recently bereaved persons regarding how they could have been made to feel more prepared for the death of a loved one.
METHODS: Cross-sectional descriptive study that uses information from a longitudinal study. A face-to-face interview was administered to 122 recently bereaved persons and participants were asked to provide opinions and to describe whether health professionals, family/friends, or themselves could have helped them to feel more prepared for the death.
RESULTS: Of the total sample of 122, 31 (25%) reported that doctors or health professionals could have done something more to help make them feel better prepared for the death of their loved-one. Six subjects (4.9%) indicated family/friends, and 16 (13.1%) stated that they themselves could have done something more to help prepare for the death of their loved-one. Common themes were: the physicians' lack of communication regarding the prognosis and imminence of death, family survivors' concerns about the medical care provided, regrets engendered by their own denial of the patient's imminent death, not managing the illness in a manner consistent with the patient's impending death, and lost opportunities for closure in family matters, both financial and interpersonal.
DISCUSSION: Findings from this study can be used to enhance understanding of bereaved persons' views about health professionals' current practices for bereaved individuals, as well as the role of the family and the bereaved persons themselves in potentially effecting preparedness for the death of a loved one.
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, USA.