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The approach of dying and death, and the mourning process of the survivors 

The approach of dying and death, and the mourning process of the survivors
Chapter:
The approach of dying and death, and the mourning process of the survivors
Author(s):

Jonathan Martin

, Caroline Nicholson

, and Rob George

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198701590.003.0028
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date: 26 August 2019

The approach of death often brings the complexity of a person’s life into sharp focus, thereby setting the backdrop for the losses occurring to him or her: the physical limitations inherent to most dying; the social ‘disintegration’ that inevitably accompanies a person’s ultimate leave-taking; and the ‘Why?’ question that often arise.

Like the grief work in which those close to the dying person will usually find themselves engaging, both now and later, for the dying person these accumulating losses are underpinned, consciously or unconsciously, by existential/spiritual questions. Such issues are usually well outside most clinicians’ comfort zone, so how should we approach the multidimensional suffering that may occur during the dying process, and what are the particularities of this period for the older person? This chapter outlines both an approach to care and a practical method for how to support a person, and their loved ones, at this time.

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