eCampus CancerPEN In the Division of General Medical Disciplines

Psychosocial Issues, PEN 204: Bereavement

[quote] Around the time of the patientís death, one of the most important things is education. Many people are having a major loss for the first time, and may have no idea of how disorganizing, disruptive, upsetting, and overwhelming this experience will be. Itís helpful to prepare people for the fact that bereavement is not like any experience theyíve ever had.

The video talk and the PowerPoint® presentation are the intellectual property of Dr. Susan Block. All the material is based on Dr. Block's synthesis of existing research and clinical practice experience in addition to her own research work.

[image] Susan Block

Susan Block, M.D.

Dana Farber Cancer Institute & Brigham & Women's Hospital,
Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care. Bio

One of the most important things we can do to reduce the rates of complicated grief is to prepare their loved ones for the likelihood that the patient will die.

In this video module Susan Block, MD discusses bereavement care, a facet of palliative care that is extremely important but often neglected. There is robust evidence demonstrating that bereavement care can have positive impacts on both patient quality of life as well as the health of bereaved survivors, making it all the more imperative that physicians work to improve bereavement care.

As you are viewing this video module, consider the following questions:

  1. How can clinicians distinguish between the natural phenomenon of normal bereavement and prolonged bereavement? What are characteristics of patients at risk for experiencing complicated grief?
  2. What is the role of the clinician in pre-death bereavement care? In long-term bereavement care?
  3. What are goals of successful bereavement care? How can healthcare providers identify when these goals have been reached? How can you improve the bereavement care you currently provide for your patients to see improved health outcomes?

Dr. Block's module includes the following:

  1. A video talk representing an overview of Bereavement. A free pdf download of the material is included. References and article abstracts are also available.
  2. A two-part video case study in which Dr. Block speaks with the bereaved parents Robert and Ellen of college student Laura whose life was rapidly and unexpectedly taken by a Meningitis infection.

click to enter the video talk click to view the case study

"My current research involves assessment of the impact of physician attitudes, knowledge, and skills on the care of patients at the end of life. In addition, I am involved in evaluating the outcomes of educational efforts underway to improve palliative care education and practice. Other research focuses on the impact on physicians of caring for patients at the end of life and on the impact of physician factors on the quality of end-of-life care.

"I am collaborating with Holly Prigerson, PhD on studies of mental health issues in patients and caregivers at the end of life, and on the development of interventions to address normal bereavement and complicated grief."


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