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Terminality

  • By: Sandra L. Ragan & Sara Shaunfield
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Terminality is the end stage in a person's life when a terminal diagnosis is evident and death is imminent. Communication challenges arise from the existential/spiritual crises patients and family members face at impending death. Unfortunately, few communication scholars are exploring the therapeutic benefits of communication in this setting. As Roxanne Parrott notes, the absence of spirituality in health communication research and practice persists despite the evidence of a relationship between spirituality and health.

Hospice founder Cicely Saunders wrote of five kinds of pain that suffering patients endure. Patients and their families at end of life (EOL) frequently face the pain of physical symptoms, and much of the medical literature addresses relief of physiological pain. Yet, according to Betty Ferrell and her associates, who write extensively about ...

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