Death and Dying

Critical Thinking Questions

Describe the five stages of grief and provide examples of how a person might react in each stage.


The first stage is denial. The person receives news that he is dying, and either does not take it seriously or tries to escape from the reality of the situation. He might say something like, “Cancer could never happen to me. I take good care of myself. This has to be a mistake.” The next stage is anger. He realizes time is short, and he may not have a chance to accomplish what he wanted in life. “It’s not fair. I promised my grandchildren that we would go to Disney World, and now I’ll never have the chance to take them.” The third stage is bargaining. In this stage, he tries to delay the inevitable by bargaining or pleading for extra time, usually with God, family members, or medical care providers. “God, just give me one more year so I can take that trip with my grandchildren. They’re too young to understand what’s happening and why I can’t take them.” The fourth stage is depression. He becomes sad about his impending death. “I can’t believe this is how I’m going to die. I’m in so much pain. What’s going to become of my family when I’m gone?” The final stage is acceptance. This stage is usually reached in the last few days or weeks before death. He recognizes that death is inevitable. “I need to get everything in order and say all of my good-byes to the people I love.”

What is the purpose of hospice care?


Hospice is a program of services that provide medical, social, and spiritual support for dying people and their families.