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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

Psychosocial Issues at the End of Life: Definition, Theory, and Intervention

by Jeff Kendall, PsyD 4 CE Credits

The emotional responses of people with incurable illness are multifaceted and may vacillate throughout their end of life care. Additionally, the psychological impact of a terminal illness is not limited to just the patient, but encompasses the entire family unit. This course provides healthcare professionals with a definition of end-of-life care as well as a description of the prevalence of psychiatric disorders during this phase of care. Psychological theories regarding death and dying are presented and lead into a description of the emotional reactions encountered by both patients and caregivers. This course concludes with a presentation of psychological treatment techniques used to overcome these emotional reactions and assist patients and caregivers to improve quality of life during the end of life.


This online course is approved for APA CE credit, NBCC CE clock hours, ASWB Clinical CE clock hours, and NYSED CE credit.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • Aging and Dying: Providing Context
  • Definitions: End of Life and Palliative Care
  • Psychiatric Distress at the End of Life
  • Psychological Theories Regarding Death and Dying
  • Psychological Issues at the End of Life
  • Coping Strategies and Styles
  • Interventions to Assist Patients at the End of Life
  • Summary
  • Web-based Resources
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Define “end of life” and “palliative care” in relation to the care continuum and articulate three conceptualizations of components of a “good death.”
  • Identify three common emotional reactions patients and families experience at the end of life, along with the prevalence of two common psychiatric disorders in patients with incurable disease.
  • Describe two prominent psychological theories regarding coping with death and dying.
  • Employ three behavioral interventions to assist patients at the end of life.