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Behav. Sci. 2017, 7(2), 19; doi:10.3390/bs7020019

Palliative Care and the Family Caregiver: Trading Mutual Pretense (Empathy) for a Sustained Gaze (Compassion)

Department of Communication, University of Memphis, 235 Art and Communication Building, Memphis, TN 38152-3150, USA
Department of Communication, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Maureen P. Keeley
Received: 27 February 2017 / Revised: 6 April 2017 / Accepted: 7 April 2017 / Published: 13 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Family Communication at the End of Life)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [185 KB, uploaded 13 April 2017]


In this conceptual piece, we survey the progress of palliative care communication and reflect back on a chapter we wrote a decade ago, which featured the communication concept of mutual pretense, first described by Glaser and Strauss (1965). This work will include an update on family caregivers and their role in cancer caregiving as well as a review of current palliative care communication curriculum available for providers. And finally, we will spotlight the conversation and research going forward on the subject of health literacy for all stakeholders; patients, families, providers, and systems. We feature one family’s story of incurable cancer and end of life to revisit the needs we identified ten years ago, which are still present. Goals for going forward in chronic and terminal illness are suggested in a health care context still too void of palliative care communication resources for providers, patients, and especially family caregivers. View Full-Text
Keywords: palliative care; family caregiver; health literacy; communication training; compassion palliative care; family caregiver; health literacy; communication training; compassion
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Goldsmith, J.; Ragan, S.L. Palliative Care and the Family Caregiver: Trading Mutual Pretense (Empathy) for a Sustained Gaze (Compassion). Behav. Sci. 2017, 7, 19.

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