Sample Research Paper On Death And Dying
Hospice care refers to care provided to individuals with incurable cases of diseases and are in the last stages of their lives. According to Connor (2009), the National Hospice, and Palliative Care Organization, describes hospice care as care and support for individuals suffering incurable diseases in a comfortable way to enjoy their lives fully. Individuals in hospice become prepared for death. It is not about bringing death closer or increasing a person life, is it about satisfaction in life. People facing terminal illness experience a range of problems and pain that may be attributed to a condition they face or may be based on psychosocial problems. Ideally, concern such as pain is common but other psychosocial problems include fear of death, loneliness, fear of suffering, loss of dignity and loss of social role.
Hospices differ from the traditional home or hospital care in certain aspects. According to Kail and Cavanaugh (2013), hospice services can only be requested once the physician believes that no further treatment is possible. Furthermore, one of the basic principles that hospice operate under involves clients and families being addressed as a single unit (Kail and Cavanaugh, 2013). It takes care of the client and the family. Hospice care can be provided inpatient and outpatient. In inpatient, hospice care is provided to the client or patient while at the hospice premises while for outpatient care is provided in the home of the patient. Outpatient care usually has low cost compared to the inpatient care (Kail and Cavanaugh, 2013).
One of the most significant benefits of hospice care is that care is available 24 hours (Stich, 2012). The patient has access to a full team of medical practitioners that include physicians, nurses, social workers and hospice volunteers. The atmosphere provided in a hospice is more welcoming and comfortable than that in a hospitable. In situations where hospices work in collaboration with hospitals, significant benefits can be available to the patient. According to Morrison, Meier and Capello (2003), hospice patients can have access to palliative care expertise. This is especially significant in situations where patients experience terminally ill complex diseases. Furthermore, Medicare Hospice benefit requires that hospice programs follow and adopt a certain standard in offering services that cover a holistic approach to care (Cowen, and Moorhead, 2014). This entails spiritual care, family bereavement services, and inpatient care. According to Newman and Newman (2005), the focus of hospice care shifts from treating the disease to improving the quality of life for the patients and his family. Additionally, the patient’s pain and suffering are eased via a variety of ways that cover spiritual, physical, psychological and medical aspects. In cases where individuals do not have families, hospice care provides a support system for these people and hence do not have to face death alone. The patient experiences physical, spiritual and emotional comfort as death approaches and during times of death, one can experience a relatively easy death (Newman and Newman, 2005).
According to Santrock (2011), Erik Erikson’s eighth stage involves integrity versus despair. This is involved in late adulthood and is significant in understating of end of life care in hospices. In times of sickness and approaching death, a patient normally has time to reflect on past experiences. If the life is well spent, then the patient is more or less satisfied. However, if the reflection brings about the lack of satisfaction in the life lived the patient develops despair. Despair is an aspect that may affect how a terminally ill patient faces death. The hospice program needs to focus on these two aspects of integrity and despair outlined in Erikson’s Theory to ensure that effective care is provided to the patient.
Furthermore, a life review on positive aspects as well as regret in a terminally ill patient in a hospice may be critical for the physicians in understanding an individual’s complexity in life and use such information to increase a person life satisfaction as death approaches (Santrock 2011). Life review allows for certain events, feelings and roles to be remembered as an attempt to find meaning (Metcalf, 2013). Life review provides information that assists families to come closer together while at the same time passing on knowledge from one generation to the next. The ability to a patient o share with the family and view items such as photographs and music elicit memories, which can contribute to a reduction in depression, improvement in the psychological well-being and self-esteem of the patient (Metcalf, 2013). According to Metcalf (2013), the eight stage of Erikson’s Theory aims to maintain a person’s identity and self-esteem from the evaluations of integrity and despair. Metcalf (2013) notes that for a hospice patient identity and self-esteem deal with a dignity. Emotional comfort dignifies such a person.
Disadvantages of Hospice Services
Hospice programs normally face challenges that are mostly related to funding. According to Corr (2012), inadequate funding makes the operations and running of the hospice program to be challenging. The heavy reliance on donations may not be satisfactory in situations where there are an increasing number of individuals joining hospice programs. Furthermore, the current shortages in trained healthcare professional also become a problem for hospice programs. The hospice program depends on an interdisciplinary approach in the efforts to handle and provide end of life care, and this requires a variety of trained health workers. According to Nakhoda (2010), hospice services under the Medicare program have some requirements that limit the quality of service. For instance, for patients to be eligible for the Medicare hospice benefits, physicians have to make a prognosis for at least a six-month life expectancy for the patient. Furthermore, the patient has to give up any curative treatment, which is normally very difficult and challenging for the doctor and the patient (Nakhoda, 2010). Families of patients in hospice programs usually incur many expenses and loss of savings because of payments made to the hospice program. One can argue that hospice programs increase the cost of death.
Death and dying for terminally ill patients is significant in today’s world. Changes in health technology have affected the hospice programs. Furthermore, cases have been reported where individuals in hospice programs outlive the documented six months, and this continues to impact on the financial aspect of hospice programs. It is important that integration between hospitals and hospice be facilitated to ensure an improvement in the delivery of quality of services. Erikson’s’ theory needs to be used as a framework for evaluation and addressing concerns during end of life care. Even though issues of pain management are important, enhancing psychological well-being of a patient in a hospice is critical in the transition in confronting and accepting death
Connor, S. (2009). Hospice and Palliative Care: The Essential Guide. New York: Taylor & Francis.
Corr, C. A. (2007). Conclusions: Hospice: Achievements, Legacies, and Challenges. Omega: Journal of Death & Dying, 56(1), 111-120.
Cowen, P., & Moorhead, S. (2014). Current Issues in Nursing (8th Ed.). St.Louis: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Kail, R. V., & Cavanaugh, J. C. (2013). Human development: A life-span view. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Metcalf, J. (2013). Hospice Social Work Methods and Interventions for Terminally Ill Patients Experiencing Anticipatory Grief. Retrieved from http://sophia.stkate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1234&context=msw_papers
Morrison, R. S., Meier, D. E., & Capello, C. (2003). Geriatric palliative care. New York, N.Y: Oxford University Press.
Nakhoda, Z. (2010). End-of-Life Care and the Medicare Hospice Benefit: The High Cost of End-of-Life Care. Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 64(2), 24-28.
Newman, B. M., & Newman, P. R. (2005). Development through life: A psychosocial approach. Belmont, Calif: Thomson/Wadsworth.
Santrock, J. W. (2011). Life-span development. New York, London: McGraw-Hill.
Stich, R. (2012). America's Medical Industry: The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly. CA: Silverpeak Enterprises.