Health institutions and death: From interdict to communication

This article discusses communication about death in health institutions based on a research that had the following objectives: verify how is the communication about death made in health institutions and long permanence institutions for old people, the difficulties the health professionals who work in these institutions have concerning the communication about death, analyze the films of the project Talking about Death as tools to facilitate the communication about death and propose and analyze discussion groups about the issue in these institutions. The modality of research-action was utilized. In didactic activities and in discussion groups questionnaires about death and health institutions were applied. Data showed that it is the physicians’ task to talk about death with patients and families, not the health team’s task. Physicians feel that they are not prepared to deal with the issue of death, that is considered nobody’s task, since it is expected of health professionals to save lives. In the institutions for aged persons death is an interdict subject. Professionals state that it is not their function to talk about death with the aged residents because it causes suffering. Being prepared to deal with death would help to understand and improve care to aged people. The films of the project Talking about Death were analyzed and considered facilitating tools in the preparation of health professionals who give care to people who undergo situations of loss and death.

Death; Health professionals; Institutions; Death attitude


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