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Coping in palliative medicine 

Coping in palliative medicine
Chapter:
Coping in palliative medicine
Author(s):

Simon Wein

and Lea Baider

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199656097.003.0172
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date: 07 May 2021

Coping is a universal experience. Anxiety, existential distress, physical discomfort, depression, anger, and the wish to die are some of the stressors that patients have to cope with in palliative medicine. Coping strategies can be beneficial or detrimental. Earlier concepts emphasized coping as a way to control and manage the stressors. Recent literature has raised the idea that ‘just coping’ might not be good enough, but aiming to grow psychologically as a response to the stress could be preferable. There are several theories about the nature of coping and therapies include narrative life review, meaning therapy, dignity therapy, hope, courage, positive psychology, fighting spirit, and mobilizing social supports and personal relationships. Spiritual care and chaplaincy have also emerged as important resources for some patients. Most people use life-long coping styles that they bring to the illness and support is best directed to embellishing the good coping traits and dis-encouraging the bad ones.

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