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MRC Prion Unit
From fundamental research to prevention and cure
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Dying and post mortem

Many patients appreciate the opportunity to discuss their end of life wishes with someone. When the NPC have been involved with the patient for some time, then very often we provide that opportunity. We also discuss post mortems and obtain consent.

The nurses at the NPC Identify intellectual and emotional responses and behaviours by which individuals, families, communities work through the process of modifying self-concept based on the perception of potential loss

Anticipatory grieving is a state in which an individual grieves before an actual loss. It may apply to individuals who have received a terminal diagnosis for themselves or a loved one. Intense mental anguish or a sense of deep sadness may be experienced by patients and their families as they face long-term illness or disability. Grief is an aspect of the human condition that touches every individual, but how an individual or a family system responds to loss and how grief is expressed varies widely. That process is strongly influenced by factors such as age, gender, and culture, as well as personal and interfamilial reserves and strengths. The nurse must recognise that anticipatory grief is real grief and that, in all likelihood, as the loss actually occurs, it will evolve into grief based on an accomplished event. The nurse will encounter the patient and family experiencing anticipatory grief in the hospital setting, but increasingly, with more hospice services provided in the community, the nurse will find patients struggling with these issues in their own homes where professional help may be limited or fragmented. This care plan discusses measures the nurse can use to help patient and family members begin the process of grieving.

MRC Prion News