Rituals are symbolic activities that can provide comfort, meaning, and support and relieve anxiety associated with uncertainties, such as those faced at the end of life. Rituals offer opportunities for shared experiences and can be an important part of the healing process.
For clinicians who care for dying patients and their family members, rituals can offer a 19way to channel their responses to the secondary traumatic stress of repeated exposure to suffering and death.[1-3] Extensive models for staff support that include memorial services or public rituals already exist nationally within hospices. However, these types of rituals may occur sporadically, perhaps only once yearly. To gain insight into more frequent, personal, or private rituals used by those who work with patients at end of life, Montross-Thomas and colleagues conducted a survey of hospice staff, including volunteers. More.