Lege Artis Medicinae

[EFFECT OF END-OF-LIFE EDUCATION ON MEDICAL STUDENTS’ AND HEALTH CARE WORKERS’ DEATH ATTITUDE]

HEGEDÛS Katalin, ZANA Ágnes, SZABÓ Gábor

FEBRUARY 22, 2007

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2007;17(02)

[INTRODUCTION - The aim of our research was to evaluate the effect of courses for health care workers and medical students that deal with death, dying and bereavement and that of courses on hospice care of dying patients. The goal of the courses is to make communication on death more open by exploring critical issues related to fear of death to reduce inner anxiety and to improve attitude to dying patients. PARTICIPANTS AND METHOD - Participants (n=168) completed Neimeyer and Moore's Multi-dimensional Fear of Death Scale (MFODS) and Shortened Beck Depression Questionnaire (BDI) on the first and last day of the courses. In case of health care workers a follow-up survey was also performed 2 to 3 months after the course (n=32). RESULTS - The most significant factors of fear of death are: fear for significant others, fear of the dying process and fear of premature death. Overall fear of death scores are reduced as an effect of the courses, the alteration of the components of fear of death depends on the participants’ gender, age and profession as well. Improvement was observed in both groups in attitudes that can be related to the increase of knowledge on the quality care of dying patients like fear from the process of dying and fear from conscious experience of death. CONCLUSION - Besides education containing training as well it is important to strengthen the support function of workplaces in caring for the mental health of the health care staff. Furthermore it is important during gradual education that students participate in courses that aim to achieve opened communication in the most anxiety-evoking issues.]

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