Although numerous books have been written on the physical and practical aspects of providing services to people who are dying, relatively little has been written on the psychological, spiritual, and interpersonal issues that arise. Until now, psychologists and mental health professionals who work with the dying and their loved ones have had no resource to guide them toward empirically supported practices that can improve quality of life. This book fills that gap. Improving quality of care requires an interdisciplinary approach, and the contributors to this volume bring multiple perspectives to bear on the topic. Chapter authors from both research and clinical perspectives cover how the end-of-life environment has changed over time; the kinds of decisions that need to be made; the role of psychologists in end-of-life care; cross-cultural considerations; assessment; legal issues; practical caregiving; misinformation about depression and hopelessness; and the respective roles of caregivers and hospices. The final chapter by the editors lays out a blueprint for future research, care, education and policy.
This book provides a model for the important role that psychologists can play in ensuring that end-of-life care balances physical care with psychosocial and spiritual care.