Study Of Loss In Death (Cancer) Essay, Research Paper
Identify the psychological and spiritual components of loss which may result from the experience of cancer and critically discuss approaches to support a patient through this experience.
Once a patient has been diagnosed with cancer, he or she will experience many different feelings. One of those feelings is that of loss. Loss has many different variances. Cancer patients can feel physical loss but they can also experience psychological, social and spiritual loss as a result of a cancer diagnosis.
To discuss these specific aspects of loss in their entirety it seems only appropriate to define the same. Colin Murray-Parkes (1999), suggests that,
Patients grieve for the loss of security, jobs, bodily parts and functions, plans, control of lives and life itself.
Upon examination of the above quotation it is very apparent that cancer patients require great amounts of support through their experiences of spiritual and psychological loss aswell as through any physical losses they may encounter.
For the purposes of this assignment the author shall take into account the psychological, spiritual and social aspects of loss that are experienced by many cancer patients and shall highlight the most important issues of each. These are very broad topics and it should be noted that because this is the case the author shall not be delving into great detail but shall only highlight the poignant issues relating to loss.
Psychological loss can affect many patients throughout their cancer journey and as this is so it shall be looked at in relation to the feelings that patients have abut certain aspects of their lives including the cancer diagnosis itself. Work by people such as Buckman and Kubler-Ross shall be identified so as to highlight the nurses role within the care of the cancer patient experiencing psychological loss
Spirituality can be a very important issue within the care of the cancer patient. Some patients feel that they become very spiritually dddd study by Corner.J (1995) also suggests the same points as the one already discussed. It was found that,
The effects of breathlessness on quality of life in general appeared to be great, interfering with every aspect of a persons life.
Patients experiencing feelings as highlighted are often the people who feel spiritual loss. Kuttierath.S.K (1998) suggests that the causes of a terminally ill a patient s spiritual anguish can be many. He states:
They are facing multiple loss loss of job, status, mobility, self esteem and independence, all leading to a loss of purpose in life. They may feel that there is no point in living.
Spirituality is involved with body, mind and spirit and is all too often confused with religion and culture. These are encompassed within spirituality but not the only influences. Dom.H (1999), describes spirituality as,
An aspect of the total person that influences and acts with other aspects of the person as the most important view of their true identity
The spiritual loss experienced by many cancer patients is usually concerned with a loss of hope. The spiritual pain these patients experience is due to having the meaning of life so drastically altered that they do not know whether their new life is worth living. Patients frequently ask the question, why me? This is attributed to a loss of sense of meaning, which is central to being spiritually sound or complete.
Spirituality is shaped by the accepted practices or beliefs of a religion or culture. Some patients turn to their spirituality to cope with a cancer diagnosis and invariably they turn also to religion. However this is not always the case, some patients turn their backs on their spirituality and their religion, as they feel betrayed. In an article by Oliviere.D(1999) this point is reflected,
For many patients the crisis of illness and death highlights the traditions and the rituals that offer them meaning and support. For others, there may be a rejection of cultural patterns.
With regard to religions and the use of religion in cancer patients, a study undertaken by Mitchell.D and Sneddon.M(1999), showed that patients staff and visitors felt that the chaplain was an important professional figure who patients understand their spirituality. The chaplains themselves felt that their role was an understanding one that incorporated being confidential and trust worthy. It was also noted that chaplains felt that this is what patients staff and visitors expected of them.
Patients although need their own time to come to terms with their disease, also require support and advice at various points throughout their cancer journey. Bloom.J(1982), states,
When diagnosed with cancer, the need for social support increases to help the patient address the fears and ambiguities of the situation.
It has been suggested by Suominem.T et al (1995) that family, friends, nurses, doctors and other staff care for the patients social support.