by E. Alessandra Strada
For patients and family caregivers the journey through illness and transitions of care is characterized by a series of progressive physical and emotional losses. Grief reactions represent the natural response to those losses. Grief is defined by a constellation of physical, cognitive, emotional and spiritual manifestations, varying in length and severity. While grief reactions are common and expected responses to loss, they have the potential to cause significant suffering. And, while grief is not a disease, it can develop into a pathological process warranting specialized treatment. Additionally, some aspects of grief overlap with the symptoms of clinical depression and anxiety, making diagnosis difficult. Grief and Bereavement in the Adult Palliative Care Setting provides practical, evidence-based, and clinically effective approaches to understanding the multifaceted nature of grief and bereavement in patients with advanced illness and their caregivers. This handbook is an ideal tool for palliative care providers of various disciplines who provide direct clinical services to patients and family members. It assists clinicians in recognizing and identifying grief reactions as unique expressions of patients and caregivers’ history and psychological functioning. Primary care physicians who provide care to patients and families will also find this practical assessment and treatment guide helpful. They will learn how to best support bereaved patients and caregivers when grief is uncomplicated, and when to choose more active interventions that may include appropriate referrals to mental health professionals.
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