The Significance of Lifeworld and the Case of Hospice
Medicine, health care, and philosophy 2011 Aug; 14(3): 257-63
Questions on what it means to live and die well are raised and discussed in the hospice movement. A phenomenological lifeworld perspective may help professionals to be aware of meaningful and important dimensions in the lives of persons close to death. Lifeworld is not an abstract philosophical term, but rather the opposite. Lifeworld is about every day, common life in all its aspects. In the writings of Cicely Saunders, known as the founder of the modern hospice movement, facets of lifeworld are presented as important elements in caring for dying patients. Palliative care and palliative medicine today are, in many ways, replacing hospices. This represents not only a change in name, but also in the main focus. Hospice care was originally very much about providing support and comfort for, and interactions with the patients. Improved medical knowledge today means improved symptomatic palliation, but also time and resources spent in other ways than before. Observations from a Nordic hospice ward indicate that seriously ill and dying persons spend much time on their own. Different aspects of lifeworld and intersubjectivity in the dying persons' room is presented and discussed.
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