Loss and Grief from Chronic and Terminal Illness


Americans and other Western counterparts are living longer but suffering more chronic diseases. If we in the helping professions are to serve the burgeoning demographic of older, often unwell, people - or the caregivers caring for them - we need to know what their needs are. How are we to view death, and what philosophical or spiritual framework will help us work with clients dealing with it? A primary consequence of chronic illness for both the unwell person and his or her caregiver is that of the grief born of loss: a consequence continued for the caregiver upon being bereaved of the ill loved one. What do we need to know about loss and grief in these contexts in order to counsel effectively? This course examines basic issues related to loss and grief as they manifest in clients with chronic and terminal illness, or in caregivers for the chronically ill.



Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to: Identify your own levels of death anxiety and state what death-awareness or other spiritual preparation you would need in order to counsel the chronically or terminally ill, or their caregivers; Identify the eight areas of issues common for patients in palliative care and their families; be able to map these onto Maslow's hierarchy of needs; Name the major adjustments for chronically or terminally ill individuals or their caregivers; Explain the proposed demoralization syndrome and show how it may manifest in a chronically unwell person; Show how ambiguous loss makes grieving more complicated; utilize notions of anticipatory grief to help chronically and terminally ill people and their caregivers prepare for death.