Discrepancies in Conceptualizations of “Closure”

Categories: Care.

The study explains that while follow-up meetings have been used as a way for physicians to provide information and emotional support to bereaving parents, understandings of “closure” differ between physicians and bereaving parents.

In a prior study that evaluated physicians’ perspectives on these follow-up meetings, results demonstrated that physicians saw them as an opportunity for parents to achieve a sense of closure. A parallel study was done to evaluate the perspectives of bereaved parents and found that parents on the other hand, did not identify closure as one of the benefits of these meetings. Therefore, this latest study’s aim is to gain a better understanding of physician’s conceptualization of “closure”. To do so, the study analyzes the frequency that the word “closure” is used by physicians in follow-up meetings and seeks to decipher its underlying meaning.  Bereavement researchers explain that the concept of closure is unclear and often undesired by parents and therefore instead, promote terms such as healing, acceptance, adjustment, recovery, etc.

One of the main distinguishing factors highlighted by the study is that physicians typically see a child’s death as the end of a relationship while bereaved parents often understand a child’s death as “a change in the relationship.” Ultimately, the study suggests that further research should be done to evaluate whether “follow up meetings reduce the negative effects of bereavement for parents and physicians.”

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