Dying patients and their families need information, spiritual and emotional supportThe death of a patient comes with great emotions, not just for the patient but also for the medical team and family. Medical students know too well that they are going through a socialization process which desensitizes them of the great difficulties they face on a daily basis at the hospital. They know too well that it is of great importance to have their emotions controlled so that they can focus on providing the patients with the kind of care they need. Still, medical students are also concerned that they might become insensitive to the emotional, personal and spiritual needs of the patients.

Some of the aspects highlighted in the study

In the new study, the researchers choose a group of medical students at Loyola University randomly and asked them to an essay that reflected on their own personal experience when taking care of a patient who is dying. In addition, the medical students were asked also to think more about patient care, compassionate present, communication and professional and personal development. The students observed how other teams explained and delivered the prognosis and also wrote about how they avoided it. The students noted that regardless how well a doctor communicated the prognosis, individual family members and the whole family at large digested and absorbed the info given both at their pace and in their own manner.

In addition, this study also pointed on the great importance of the medical team providing a compassionate presence, one that is beyond the normal medical interactions like conveying affection, sharing interests and continued interest even long after a patient has finished the prescribed treatment. This study stressed more on the great need of the health care team to have a good understanding of the soul and body of the patient and acknowledge that dying patients as well as their families need both spiritual and emotional support.

How health care personnel addresses the death issue

According to the report, some medical teams tend to focus more on immediate medical problems and the medical care provided is usually fragmented especially due to the rotation of teams on and off the service as well as patient transfers helps medical providers to avoid addressing death which is the large picture. Still, this fragmentation can make the practitioner to easily overlook the needs of the patients and families especially when they need information, spiritual and emotional support.

According to the findings of the study, there is dire need for spiritual and emotional support for medical students as well as health care team that are losing the patient. Even though certain students would acknowledge the death in some way, some still felt lack of closure. In most cases, the health care team would proceed onto the next patient which leaves the medical student with some unresolved feelings.