Communicating with the Dying: A Workshop Review


Synopsis: We live in a death-denying culture. Our culture is very powerful and controls how we communicate with our dying person/patient. We do not like to think about, talk about, or acknowledge that death as inevitable. Even many physicians view death as a medical failure. As people are dying, they have less need and desire for nutrition and hydration. This poses a problem for many since food is highly valued culturally and is viewed as love. How do we talk to our dying person/patient about this topic and put them charge of their own care?

Learning Objectives: After reading this resource guide, you will be able to:

  1. Describe why Americans are mostly death-denying.
  2. Describe the natural dying process and why many do not accept it.
  3. Explain why the dying have a reduced need for nutrition and hydration.
  4. Explain how to talk with a dying person about nutrition and hydration.
  5. Describe how to put your dying person/patient in charge.
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