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The importance of therapeutic relationships at the end of life
  1. Helen Scott, Staff Nurse
  1. Helen Scott is Editor, End of Life Care, Bank Staff Nurse, St Christopher’s Hospice, and currently undertaking an MSc in Palliative Care, King’s College London

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Dame Cicely Saunders once wrote that central to end-of-life care (EoLC) is the acknowledgement of potential, continued human growth and dignity despite weakness and loss. She also asserted that no member of the multiprofessional team is more central to such human discovery than the nurse (Saunders, 2006). Therapeutic nurse/patient relationships are highly valued by patients and nurses alike. However, as the article on pages 9–16 highlights, barriers exist, which prevent nurses and patients from developing therapeutic relationships, particularly at the end of life. The nursing role over the past three decades has changed. The ‘political’ view is that nursing has evolved from a subordinate, low-paid occupation into a competent, well-educated profession that values compassion (Prime Minister’s Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery in …

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