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but they're usually so overwhelmed they prefer to go back to the waiting room and appreciate the opportunity to see the reality of what's happened. People often feel cheated if they miss seeing someone during their last minutes of life."

Other recommendations, now in effect at Harborview, included assigning a nurse to the family through the admission and death process to help facilitate the flow of information. Social workers and chaplains are also present whenever available.

Although most responses from the survey were positive, a few physicians were found to be insensitive. "Some doctors are good at delivering bad news, but we need to train those who don't have the natural skills and are uncomfortable in such a highly emotional situation," says Jurkovich. "There is increasing recognition that medical training needs to be extended beyond the science of illness and into the art of caregiving." He plans to extend the project to study the effect of stress on resident physicians, and results will be incorporated into a teaching program.


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Contact: Ellen Liang
eliang@u.washington.edu
206-731-3753
University of Washington
17-Sep-1999


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