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Dying Well: Growth at the End of Life

            In Dying Well, Byock approaches death as not a problem to be solved but something to be looked at outside the regular scope of medicine as it is taught in medical school. The author believes that end of life care should focus on the alleviating the pain and discomfort of dying. The terminally ill patient/loved one should be made as comfortable as possible. He also does not believe in unnecessarily prolonging the person's life to make those that are grieving that person feel better. (Byock, 1997) That just prolongs the patient's suffering and essentially can bankrupt them. .
             Hospice allows the person to die at home or in a home environment, surrounded by family and friends. It gives a sense of security and safety to the dying. Hospice is beneficial to both the ill person and their loved ones. Both parties benefit from the family providing care with the correct guidance. This allows them both to grieve the death and feel the emotional pain together. It gives a sense of purpose and meaning at this end stage of life. Byock defines "good death" as a misleading term. He believes that a good death is a subjective personal experience that embodies a sense of meaning, purpose, and sense of completion and at times fulfillment. (Byock, 1997) Dr. Byock's mission is to help everyone involved find meaning, dignity, and peace in these final months of life. The counselor's role at end of life is to facilitate an open discussion with the patient, loved ones, and medical team. There needs to be a honest conversation with the patient and loved ones about the diagnosis, treatment options and life expectancy. This allows the patient to communicate fully and honestly and enables them to choose how they want to live their last days and focus their aspirations on things that are achievable.
             Kubler-Ross approaches death as a multistage event. In Death and Dying, Kubler-Ross originally applied these stages to people suffering from terminal illness, later to any form of catastrophic personal loss (job, income, freedom).

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