Patterns of Death Beliefs
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Every community or group of people follows a basic pattern of death beliefs which are universal. At the time of a person’s death, those close to him or associated with him by any means, such as profession or just an acquaintance, are forced to deal with the issue in some way, even though they might not be emotionally affected. They are forced to think about it. The survivors relate to the body even if momentarily through pre-death images. Those close to the deceased have to move on to the next phase, which is dealing emotionally with moving on and accepting the fact that this person will no longer exist.
Socially, death leads to reassigning of social duties and maintains a balance in the world. It is also regarded as a passage to another world, with concepts differing depending on the culture. For instance, many funeral rituals represent the final goodbye ceremony signifying the end of this life and moving on to the next.
End of Life Care - Palliative vs. Medical Care
Palliative care was a traditional practice used prior to the modern medical practice of doctors focusing on achieving a swift cure of an illness. It is still used today and focuses on relieving the symptoms of a medical problem instead of rushing to cure it. The goal is to manage pain by relieving symptoms through a plan devised by consultations from nurses, pharmacists, physicians, religious leaders, psycho therapists, and social workers. This makes each palliative case unique to the particular patient. On the other hand, medicated care is the most appropriate for patients who have complicated and serious health dilemmas.
End of Life Decision Making (Legal Issues)
I understand that individuals and families have to engage in the critical decision making process towards a family member’s end of life. Dying persons have to make personal treatment and legal choices which might include writing wills, powers of attorney, and advanced directives. At the time of death, people have their own methods of dealing with the issues such as religious rituals or completing unfinished tasks. Speaking about the family members, they might be required to make medical decisions which can be tough having psychological, financial, and social impacts. Depending on the culture one follows, the family might play a stronger role or the legal system might have autonomy regarding the patient.
Grief and Bereavement
Death itself is not what scares people but the psychological and emotional troubles one must face. This includes dealing with losing the people and things one loves. Bereavement is the emotional state and behavior, or mourning of people who survive the deceased. Bereavement is the common reaction to death in all societies and people undergo various emotional mix-ups during this mourning period such as crying, guilt, hostility, having trouble accepting reality, and depression. Various societal rituals such as professional or religious therapy are designed to aid people to overcome bereavement.
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