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Understanding Dying, Death, And Bereavement

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Understanding Dying, Death, and Bereavement

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Dying, death, and bereavement do not occur in a social vacuum. How individuals and groups experience these phenomena will be largely influenced by the social context in which they occur. To develop an adequate understanding of dying, death, and bereavement we therefore need to incorporate a sociological perspective into our analysis. This article examines why a sociological perspective is necessary and explores various ways in which sociology can be of practical value in both intellectual and professional contexts. A case study comparing psychological and sociological perspectives is offered by way of illustration.

PSYC 445 - The Psychology of Dying, Death and Bereavement (3) Psychological overview of aspects of dying, death and bereavement. Attitudes toward death; understanding and caring for terminally ill patients; funeral rituals, burial, mourning and grief counseling; suicide and euthanasia.Prerequisite: PSYC 101 ; completion of one upper-division Psychology course.400-level Undergraduate Course available for Graduate Credit

Books are helpful for families as well. Parents often struggle with how to raise difficult topics with their child and may err on the side of silence due to concern for making a mistake.6 Books can provide both the language parents may need to explain a topic and an opportunity while considering their child's understanding and feelings, while considering the child's cognitive and emotional development and understanding of their world. The ability to adapt to loss, cope with death, and express grief is critical for healthy childhood development.9

This paper explores carers' views of dying, death and bereavement for family members who had recently died with heart failure adding to a growing literature on end of life experiences for people with conditions other than cancer.

The findings fell into three time periods; the period prior to death, the death itself and the bereavement period. Most family carers found discussions about what might happen and what the patients' preferences were as death approached difficult. There was little discussion reported with health professionals in the period leading up to the death. Dissatisfaction with the circumstances of the death was focused around hospital care and specifically about interventions that were perceived as unnecessary. Planned deaths in the home were considered to be 'good deaths'. Those who discussed what might happen after death did so in the context of their religious beliefs. Many of the family carers were happy with the professional support they had received during their bereavement, a small number had taken up bereavement support. The main source of support during this period was from friends and family members. Some of the carers described how grief had affected them, the coping strategies they used and how, in some cases, their bereavement had been followed by depression.

This is a small study and significant numbers of those approached to take part either did not respond or declined to be interviewed. It may be that their views and experiences differed from those who are reported here. Those who did respond were given the choice of being interviewed by telephone or in their own home. Our analysis of the resulting transcripts did not identify any differences between these two approaches to data collection and we have not identified the interview type in our results. The study recruited bereaved carers from different parts of the country. We did not identify any regional patterns in our interviews and so have not specified location in our results. The data capture retrospective assessments of the dying and death of the person being cared for, although for some the bereavement experiences were still current, not retrospective. Our reports are from carers who are reporting as proxies when they describe what they felt the experiences of the person who was dying was, for example in terms of their preference for a sudden death, but in the main what they report are interactions between themselves, the person they are caring for and in a number of examples members of the health services. Reiterating our title we present carers views and in this sense our informants are primary sources of data and not proxies. A review of studies of the validity of proxy responses to capture the experience of end of life care concluded that that proxies can reliably report on the quality of services and on observable symptoms but proxy reports show less agreement with reports from patients on more subjective aspects of the end of life experience, pain, anxiety and depression in particular [36]. We recognise the potential of a longitudinal study in this area that would collect data contemporaneously during end of life care, death and bereavement. We do note however that in the wider study that this paper sits within of 542 people with heart failure only 44 died during the study and that who those 44 were likely to be could not be predicted [4]. We are also aware that we are gathering information from carers who are relatively recently bereaved. The impact of bereavement may shape the way they report end of life care, specifically what carers report during bereavement may diverge from reports they have given during the terminal phase of the patients illness [37, 38]. Further, some carers identify feelings of depression and these may impact on the views they express. Research has underlined the impact of depression on quality of life of patients and on the shortcomings of services to both recognise and respond to it [39, 40] our study suggests a need to recognise and respond to depression in carers also. Despite its limitations this study has identified conceptual and service issues in relation to the impact on carers of end of life care, death and bereavement in heart failure that both support and add to existing literature.

Carers of people with heart failure find it difficult to discuss the wishes of their family members prior to death, this is a barrier to advance care planning. They are however clear that they are opposed to futile interventions. They emphasise quality of life rather than an extended life. Death at home is preferred by many but not all family carers. The sense that the death has been a good one helps shape post-bereavement experiences, as does having a religious faith. Bereaved carers are likely to have continuing needs. Some of these are consequent on their age, their own health problems and the length of time they have been offering care and the impact this might have had on their social networks. These needs require a response that combines a focus on supporting and enhancing social networks and, for some, professional input responding to depression.

SOCY 3267 - Sociology of Dying, Death, and BereavementSocial definitions of death, process of dying, facing death across the life course, grief, bereavement, bioethical issues impacting individuals and society. Credit Hours: (3)Cross-listed Course(s): GRNT 3267 .Most Recently Offered (Day): Fall 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2019Most Recently Offered (Evening): Course has not been offered at this time in the past 3 yearsView the Spring 2023 Schedule of Classes

This course is an exploration of thinking about dying, death and bereavement. Although western culture and American culture in particular has a reputation for being death denying, we do in fact confront images of and talk about death on almost a daily basis. This course will not be a study about death and dying in the news and popular media, rather it will about those who have thought about our mortality seriously and extensively.

This book is a brief but comprehensive survey of research, writings, and professional practices concerned with death and dying. It is interdisciplinary and eclectic--medical, psychological, religious, philosophical, artistic, demographics, bereavement, and widowhood are all considered--but with an emphasis on psychological aspects. A variety of viewpoints and research findings on topics subsumed under "thanatology" receive thorough consideration. Questions, activities, and projects at the end of each chapter enhance reflection and personalize the material. This fourth edition features material on: * moral issues and court cases concerned with abortion and euthanasia; * the widespread problem of AIDS and other deadly diseases; * the tragedies occasioned by epidemics, starvation, and war; and * the resumption of capital punishment in many states. The book's enhanced multicultural tone reflects the increased economic, social, and physical interdependency among the nations of the world. Topics receiving increased attention in the fourth edition are: terror management; attitudes and practices concerning death; cross-cultural concepts of afterlife; gallows humor, out-of-body experiences; spiritualism; mass suicide; pet and romantic death; euthanasia; right to die; postbereavement depression; firearm deaths in children; children's understanding of death; child, adolescent, adult, and physician-assisted suicide; religious customs and death; confronting death; legal issues in death, dying and bereavement; death education; death music; creativity and death; longevity; broken heart phenomenon; beliefs in life after death; new definitions of death; children's acceptance of a parent's death; terminal illness; and the politics of death and dying.

S_W 5555 - Death, Dying, and Living (3) [DL] When Offered: On DemandAn examination of how dying, death, and grief are experienced, including how support can be given through helping relationships to those who are dying or experiencing bereavement. Consideration will be given to the issues of euthanasia, suicide, body disposition, living wills, and the relationship of death to life. Students will have the opportunity to explore personally the meaning of death, other experiences of loss, and the quality of life. [Dual-listed with S W 4555.]


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