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date: 20 October 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article reflects on the lessons about grief and dying acquired by a palliative care and hospice physician over the course of her training and career. The article describes how she views, engages, and incorporates grief into her work as a health-care provider based on her personal experiences and lessons learned from mentors, patients, and families. It describes ways to better understand the types of loss one can personally experience and need to “tag your baggage” as a way of loss experiences before patient discussions. The article then emphasizes the importance of managing one’s expectations when working with a patient and/or family facing end-of-life issues, citing a pervasive concept in palliative and hospice care known as the “good death.” Finally, it discusses the role of communication and supportive skills in dealing with dying patients and their families, along with debriefing and self-care.

Keywords: grief, dying, palliative care, loss, tagging your baggage, end of life, hospice care, communication, debriefing, self-care

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