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Oncologists’ Protocol and Coping Strategies in Dealing with Patient Loss

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To identify what protocol and coping strategies oncologists turn to cope with patient loss, the authors interviewed 20 oncologists at 3 hospitals. Using the grounded theory method, findings revealed that their protocol may include meeting with families, participating in bereavement rituals, making a phone call, or sending a condolence card. Coping strategies included social support, activity-oriented coping, turning to faith, compartmentalization, and withdrawing from patients and families. The authors conclude by offering implications from this research on how to address oncologists’ grief over patient loss in institutional settings in order to improve bereavement care for families and enhance oncologists’ quality of life.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Public Health, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel 2: Palliative Care Consult Team, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 3: Medical Oncology, Juravinski Cancer Centre, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 4: Department of Medical Oncology & Hematology, Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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