The education of a primary caregiver who is transitioning from a non-hospice primary care giving role to a hospice-assisted care giving role may be deficient and result in prolonged levels of anxiety, depression, and bereavement. The purpose of this research was to determine if there was a lack of adequate training for caregivers who have family or friends who were placed in hospice (B. Hunt & D. A. Rosenthal, “Rehabilitation Counselors' Experiences With Client Death Anxiety,” 2000). Hospice is called when a patient has been given a terminal diagnosis and is expected to have less than 6 months to live (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Medicare Hospice Benefits,” 2007). Current practices in hospice care may provide little in the way of education and instruction to assist non-hospice caregivers to understand the final stages of their care recipient's terminal illness. It also may not facilitate a comprehensive understanding for the psychosocial changes that are involved when the caregiver's focus changes from maintaining the care recipient's life to preparing for the end of life (Hunt & Rosenthal). A qualitative study into the current process of death education for caregivers of terminal patients was performed. Ten volunteer participants were interviewed regarding the introduction to their hospice education experience. These volunteer participants were taken from the general population. The results show all were appreciative and positive regarding the hospice program. However, it was clear throughout the interviews there was an undercurrent of a lack of education for the caregivers. This was exemplified by their not being aware of their own limits, thus leading to burnout. Most do not want to speak poorly of hospice in general. Notwithstanding, there was a clear thread of a need for more education of caretakers.
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