Patients Should be Informed about Dying and Death
It is important to inform patients about death and dying, although, there are a lot of controversial and long discussions about if the patients would be told the truth about their death and dying. This issue rarely rises when the dying person is taken care of by the family physician (Behar, 1990). One of the most vital facts is that dying today is more dreadful, friendless, mechanical and dehumanized, and at times it is even hard to establish, technically when the moment of death occurs. Patients should be informed about death and dying because it becomes impersonal and lonely when human is taken out of the familiar environment, and is rushed to the emergency ward (Behar, 1990). When a patient is dying, the next of kin informed as a matter of routine.
Firstly, patients should be informed about dying, so as to allow them to know the truth (Moorey, 1995). Moorey (1995) indicated that “while healthcare workers may be better informed than a patient, concerning the best way to treat an illness, it does not follow the fact that the professional knows in all respects what is best for the patient” (p. 97). Research shows that a majority of doctors (80% of those questioned) felt it unhelpful to let someone know they are dying (Moorey, 1995). Studies also indicate that between 50% and 80% of patients want to know the truth about their condition. Relatives, on the other hand, are also reluctant to allow a loved one to be told he is dying.
Secondly, it is common that when a dying patient knows the truth, he or she may conspire with the deception and evasion of staff and next of kin, because he or she does not want to bring a commotion or distress people. Many researchers in the field have indicated that the dying patients should be informed, because they worry other people, and they will see them as being a major reason for going along with a deceit that they will recover, be able to go back home, and make plans for the future (Moorey, 1995). From the above argument, it is more to do with guarding the feelings of professionals than with the care of the dying.
Thirdly, maintaining pretence and keeping away from the truth takes away the chance for sharing and experiencing some sort of consummation. This implies that the concern of bringing the truth out into the open risks will make the patient and relatives be overwhelmed by their feelings (Moorey, 1995). The risk of informing patients that they are dying should be set against the benefits of open communication between the dying patients and those family members close to them. Moorey (1995) established that “in a family, where feelings have not been expressed freely, the opportunity to say goodbye in a meaningful way may be considerably less stressful than keeping the pretence for both the patients and the family members” (p. 98). Though it may seem cold or even melancholic to do so; it is also a chance to examine issues that the dying person will leave behind.
In addition, informing patients about death enables them to discuss the useful issues of setting matters in order, finances and insurance, making a will, funeral arrangements and other matters. This is extremely helpful for both the patient and the relatives. Moorey (1995) mentioned that “such practical issues can cause immense stress to mourners when there is a conflict, and can be easier resolved, if there is an opportunity to discuss them with the dying person” (p. 98). Dialogue between the dying person and those close to him can be priceless in preventing complications after the death has occurred (Moorey, 1995).
Several conditions encourage disclosure, regardless of the individual patient’s capacity to withstand it (Glaser & Strauss, 2005). It is important to tell the patients that they are dying to avoid losing the patient’s self-belief, if he should find out through cues or accidentally. Glaser & Strauss (2005) indicated that informing patients about death justifies thorough treatment and a clinical research offer, and therefore it reduces the doctor’s needs to keep up a positive, but false front.
Patients should be informed about death and dying, so that they can put their affairs in order and plan for their family’s future, or reduce their pace of living (Glaser & Strauss, 2005). According to Bryant (2003), there are more legal reasons for telling patients the truth than for keeping it from them. Therefore, physicians are inclined towards more openness in communicating with the terminally ill, and their families about the dying patient’s condition. It offers the patients an opportunity to grieve the loss of their own lives (Seale, 1998). The suggestions of revealing to patients that they are dying are profound, because it enables other people to see that dying people in late modernity are being offered the opportunity to preside over their own funerals.
Patients who go into the position of aware of dying are able to write their own obituaries and take part in the mortuary rites that in ethnic and customary cultures help familiarize survivors towards life. Seale (1998) indicated that “people in general find the practice of informing patients that they are dying shocking and pointless, representing an abandonment of medical responsibility and a withdrawal of the protective cocoon of health care”(p. 121). Through informing patient about death and dying, they can focus their concern on enacting individual journeys of internal exploration. At the same time, they are offered the chance of writing themselves into a revitalization cultural script (Seale, 1998). This in turn enables such patients to take part in the creation of the caring team as joint explorations, mirroring aspirations for membership in an extensive compassionate community, in which the common link is kept intact.