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Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1985 December 14; 291(6510): 1711–1713.
PMCID: PMC1418798

Barriers to psychological care of the dying.


Direct observation of doctors and nurses talking with real, stimulated, or role played patients suffering from a terminal illness has shown that they consistently use distancing tactics. These prevent them getting close to their patients' psychological suffering and are used to try to ensure their own emotional survival. Since these tactics discourage patients from disclosing their psychological concerns they are a serious barrier to effective psychological care. If those concerned in terminal care are to risk relinquishing these distancing tactics they will need better selection, more appropriate training, regular psychological support, and real opportunities for taking time out.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • HINTON JM. The physical and mental distress of the dying. Q J Med. 1963 Jan;32:1–21. [PubMed]
  • Rosser JE, Maguire P. Dilemmas in general practice: the care of the cancer patients. Soc Sci Med. 1982;16(3):315–322. [PubMed]

Articles from British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Ed.) are provided here courtesy of BMJ Publishing Group