The phenomenology of the abyss between life and death for caregivers of chronically ill ventilator-dependent patients

Type
Thesis
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Category
Online DMin Project  [ Browse Items ]
Edition
English 
Publication Year
2010 
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Abstract
As a Pastoral Care Practitioner in a 600+ bed hospital, I experience difficulty in ministering to patients on the ventilator unit – chronically ill patients I refer to as being in the abyss between life and death while connected to a ventilator. Dependency upon mechanical means for existence provokes in me questions of ethics, value, dignity, and is a bewildering sight to behold - particularly when the body becomes distorted due in part to either a loss of body mass, the retention of fluids or change in complexion. It is therefore the purpose of this qualitative inquiry to expose and examine my own vulnerabilities and apprehensions regarding this aspect of my ministry as well as to understand the essence of the abyss for those who care for such patients. Using the philosophical practice known as Transcendental Phenomenology I will query caregivers of other disciplines on this unit from whom general themes will be developed. It is anticipated that these revelations will lead to a renewed or transformed mind and practice toward ministry to this population as well as to provide a blueprint that caregivers on other ventilator unit with similar concerns can replicate as they too try to find some sense of understanding in this matter. 
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