An aging population that is retaining more dentition and an increasing number of persons affected by terminal illnesses have resulted in dentists encountering dying patients and patient deaths with increasing frequency. These events call upon dentists and their staffs to provide support for the terminally ill and for survivors of the deceased. Dentists are effective in providing bereavement support and survivors benefit greatly from it. However, this type of support is stressful for dentists and many report the need for more formal education in this area. The ethical basis for dealing effectively with a dying patient's need for open and honest discussion derives from the obligations of the doctor-patient relationship. These ethical requirements carry over to providing some level of bereavement support for the surviving loved ones of the deceased and address the professional duties of compassion and care. Sending a sympathy card with a personal note, attending the patient's funeral, or making a follow-up telephone call to the patient's survivors are all appropriate, beneficial, and appreciated.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2000|
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