End-of-Life conversations, planning, and decision-making can be uncomfortable and difficult for everyone involved – from patients and families to even the health care professionals. Unfortunately, this often leads to “bad deaths” much like this recollection from a 2016 New York Times article, Not Just a Death, A System Failure:
She had four months in the Intensive Care Unit, endless and pointless and painful procedures, and final days full of fear and despair. I have made peace with her death, but not with her dying.
And the time after the death of loved one can be just as challenging to navigate:
A cultural avoidance of the topic of death, and a subsequent reluctance to discuss and address grief, contributes to families feeling isolated in their experiences. Children and adults alike report suppressing their reactions to the death for reasons such as not wanting to burden others, appear different or risk appearing unstable. Consequently, grieving individuals may adopt unhealthy coping strategies such as avoidance, risk-taking, self-harm, and numbing through substance abuse.*
*Griese, B., Burns, M., Farro, S., Silvern, L., & Talmi, A. (2017). Comprehensive Grief Care for Children and Families: Policy and Practice Implications. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 87(5), 540-547.