Professional Issues and Thanatology

Authored by: Carol Wogrin

Handbook of Thanatology

Print publication date:  May  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9781138430815
eBook ISBN: 9780203767306
Adobe ISBN: 9781136726507

10.4324/9780203767306.ch40

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Abstract

The field of thanatology has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Medical advances that enable us to keep people alive in the face of life-threatening illnesses create a vast array of challenges and responsibilities for the professionals providing care. Models of care for the dying have developed significantly since the start of the modern day hospice movement with the establishment of St. Christopher’s Hospice by Cicely Saunders England in 1967, as discussed in detail in chapters 3 and 5. Efforts to provide palliative care in countries across the globe have steadily increased, particularly over the past couple decades. Development of the theoretical understanding of the grief process, as described in chapters 16 and 23 brought about a fundamental paradigm shift that consequently altered clinical practice. Such rapid change in the field over such a relatively short time span places significant responsibility on the caregiver to keep his or her knowledge base up to date, including general knowledge of the field of thanatology and the body of knowledge specific to his or her own discipline and area of practice with in the field.

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