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Communication at the Time of Death 

Communication at the Time of Death
Chapter:
Communication at the Time of Death
Author(s):

Marlene E. McHugh

and Penelope R. Buschman

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190204747.003.0041
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date: 22 October 2019

Effective and compassionate communication is vital in palliative care, especially at the end of life. Using a family systems perspective, this chapter explores communication as the therapeutic thread woven through the fabric of grief over the trajectory of the patient’s illness and beyond the patient’s death for the family. It discusses communication with families in person and by telephone when death is unexpected. It reviews significant barriers to end-of-life communication with vulnerable populations, such as those with sensory motor and cognitive deficits, severe and persistent mental illness, and developmental disabilities. It notes the importance of communication among advanced practice registered nurses to enhance their self-awareness.

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