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Arch Hellen Med, 34(3), May-June 2017, 411-419


Narrative palliative care, a method for building empathy

I. Vgenopoulou,1 P. Prezerakos,2 F. Tzavella2
1Department of Nursing, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens,
2Department of Nursing, Faculty of Human Movement and Quality of Life Sciences, University of the Peloponnese, Sparta, Greece

In palliative care (PC), the main objective of which is pain management, careful observation skills, sensitivity and understanding are required. Patients' narratives, as well as their careers' recollections are used in fostering their interpersonal contact with members of the interdisciplinary care team, creating a more comprehensive relationship. The needs of the patient are elicited and acknowledged, and holistic care and assistance is thus provided, equipping the patient with hope and optimism. The use of storytelling as a tool in palliative care offers an opportunity for insight into the inner, phenomenological world of the individual. By externalizing thoughts and emotions, patients develop self-awareness with a simultaneous decrease in their emotional discomfort. At the same time, through each episode of storytelling and listening the experience of suffering is broached. This review attempts an initial investigation of the relationship between palliative care and storytelling, through basic conceptual information about the role and importance of the therapeutic narrative as a framework for the contact with patients and the management of their palliative care of patients.

Key words: Empathy, Palliative care, Storytelling, Therapeutic narrative.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine