December 18, 2010

THE HEALTHY WANT TO KILL THE ILL BECAUSE WE PERCEIVE THEM AS THE OTHER:

Dying well: Witnessing death enhances the lives of palliative care workers (Calgary Herald, December 12, 2010)

The idea of dying is a source of discomfort for many, but as a new study proves, death instils in its witnesses a healing wisdom which defies our habitual attempts to deny or control it.

University of Calgary researcher Shane Sinclair completed a cross-country study on the impact of death on palliative care workers and the results, recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, prove how wrongheaded society's ingrained thinking about end-of-life issues remains.

Sinclair's study is based on interviews with palliative care staff from doctors and nurses to janitors and volunteers in five major Canadian cities, including Calgary.

Overwhelmingly, workers revealed that constant exposure to dying patients allowed them to see meaningful truths which vastly enhanced their own lives.

Participants spoke of learning to live in the now and of having their minds opened to the unfathomable mysteries of existence. Many felt that being forced to confront their own mortality through their patients

made them better people and more effective, compassionate caregivers. While this exposure did not relieve their own fears of death, it did teach staffers about the important things in life and how to value them.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at December 18, 2010 6:16 AM
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