Author(s): Janssen AL, MacLeod RD
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: This project sought to better understand the nature of medical care from the perspective of people approaching the end of life. METHOD: We asked 13 people who were dying (and a family member for each) to describe their care and the ways in which doctors' behavior fosters or inhibits the feeling that they were cared for as individuals. Interviews took a phenomenological approach. Data analysis was thematic. RESULTS: Examples used by participants as evidence of care varied widely and showed the potentially complex nature of quality care. Participants' descriptions reflect the many ways people can impart and experience care as unique individuals in the medical context. They also provide clear examples of what uncaring behaviour looks and feels like. SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: The importance of care was clearly illustrated through descriptions of the benefits of caring behavior and the negative consequences of uncaring behavior. In order to demonstrate the empathy and compassion expected and assumed of medical graduates and engender a feeling of being cared for among their patients, doctors need to invite and develop a relationship with those they are caring for. There needs to be a focus on each member of the caring relationship primarily as individual human beings.
This article was published in Palliat Support Care
and referenced in Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine