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date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Developing competence to work with individuals and families coping with serious illness and death is a professional necessity for geropsychologists. To this end, this chapter reviews physical concerns and psychosocial challenges frequently experienced by a person with a serious or advanced illness, and presents ways geropsychologists can be helpful with these concerns. This chapter is framed by a palliative care perspective, which emphasizes alleviation of suffering, enhanced quality of life, symptom management and comprehensive, interdisciplinary support to the patient and family. Specific topics covered include pain, fatigue, dyspnea, delirium, normative sadness, existential angst, the development or exacerbation of psychopathology, including major depression, anxiety or PTSD, as well as opportunities for growth, meaning-making and strengthening relationships in the context of advanced illness and end of life.

Keywords: terminal illness, end of life, hospice care, palliative care, geropsychologists, psychological assessment, grief, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder

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