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A QUALITATIVE, COLLECTIVE CASE STUDY
EXAMINING PSYCHOLOGICAL, EMOTIONAL,
AND SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES
REGARDING END-OF-LIFE CARE DECISIONS


(September, 2000)
by CALLAHAN, KATE M., Ph.D.
Leadership and Education

Abstract of a doctoral dissertation at the Adrian Dominican School of Education of Barry University. Dissertation directed by Sister Phyllis Superfisky, O.S.F., Ph.D. Number of pages in text 349.

            This qualitative study investigated the emotional, psychological, and spiritual experiences and perspectives of nine participants who had attended a holistic seminar instructing them about how and why it is important to make end-of-life care (EOL) decisions.  This study also examined and analyzed various themes from the related experiences of the participants as they faced EOL care decisions. 

The self-selected participants of the study were all health care professionals who were involved with the elderly or EOL care in some capacity.  Data were gathered through observations, documents and interviews.  Results indicated that participants dreaded thinking about their own death and used defense mechanisms of denial and transference to self protect throughout the interviews.  Defense mechanisms were effectively diffused, however. 

Participants were then more comfortable in sharing their experiences, and common themes such as motivation to attend a seminar, decision-making, sharing, feelings, emotions, actions taken, spirituality, and dying with dignity emerged.  Results also indicated that participants had difficulty facing EOL care issues because they were unfamiliar with the processes and new technologies of death and dying and had not received training in intuitive or natural decision-making processes. Conclusions were discussed and recommendations for clinical practice and further research was proffered.    

 
 
 
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