• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Questions that face dying individuals, their families, and the professionals that help them at the end of their lives are explored in this volume. The contributors help the reader to come to terms with issues of mortality complicated by the diversity of cultures within society.

Physical Aspects of Dying
Physical aspects of dying
Julie A. PattersonFago

By the latter half of the 20th century, death had become prominently absent from the day-to-day experience of most Americans. Indeed, death now often is relegated to the hospital or nursing home, where medical science overshadows this natural event for both patients and their families. Currently, between 50% and 80% of people in the United States die in institutions (Wanzer et al., 1989). By contrast, the vast majority of Americans died in their own homes at the start of the 20th century (McCue, 1995).

The process of dying also has changed. Advances in medical science now make it possible to postpone death from days to (in some cases) years. Because of the medicalization of death, the experience ...

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