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Clinical psychology in palliative care 

Clinical psychology in palliative care
Chapter:
Clinical psychology in palliative care
Author(s):

Anja Mehnert

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199656097.003.0413
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date: 31 October 2020

The psychosocial implications of disease progression result in a range of challenges for both the patient and the caregiver. The consequences of advanced disease can comprise emotional states such as anxiety, distress and depressive episodes, fear of being a burden to others, loss of control, anger, loss of sense of dignity, uncertainty, and changes in close relationships and social roles. Adjustment disorder, anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, and the demoralization syndrome represent common disorders and phenomena among patients with advanced cancer. Moreover, uncontrollable pain and high unrelieved physical symptom burden, depression, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, delirium, and low family support are major factors in the desire for thoughts of suicide and the desire for hastened death. Caregivers play an important and challenging role, providing emotional and social support for the patient, helping with medical needs, and meeting increasingly complex instrumental needs such as running the household and work.

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