Helping Terminally Ill Patients Do a 'Life Review'

Betty R. Ferrell, PhD, RN


April 14, 2016

Elderly Man With COPD Nearing the End of Life

Mr H is an 84-year-old retired mathematics professor who lives in a residential care facility. He has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which has progressed. He is now oxygen dependent and has been hospitalized several times for recurrent pneumonia. Mr H was admitted to hospice 2 months ago and he is seen twice a week by the hospice nurse. His wife died 10 years ago and they had no children. He declined chaplaincy and describes himself as neither religious nor spiritual. He has no relatives other than nephews residing out of state who call occasionally. In hospice team meetings, the team discusses having the social worker visit and offer to do a life review with Mr H to give him the opportunity to discuss his life and its meaning.


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