Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 65 Issue 1 (March 1992), Pages 1-88

The impact of a death on fellow hospice patients (pages 67-72)

The study was designed to examine the impact of a patient's death on other patients in a hospice. Following pilot work, 11 patients who had shared a room with a patient who had died were compared with nine who had been in the hospice for a similar amount of time, but had not witnessed the death of another patient. Those who had witnessed a death were significantly less depressed on a standard measure of emotional distress (the HAD). They also rated the death of another patient as significantly more comforting than distressing. Thus the results point to the benefits rather than disadvantages for patients of witnessing the death of another patient in the hospice.

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