On September 19, 2001,1 Holly G. Prigerson,
PhD, and Selby Jacobs, MD, MPH, introduced Mrs A, a 77-year-old widow of 2
years whose husband, a well-respected public figure, died of renal failure
after a protracted course of diabetes and heart disease. Exploring Mrs A's
trajectory of grief and the reconstitution of her life through community involvement,
her continuing personal relationships, and political activism, they distinguished
normal from complicated—ie, pathological—grief reactions and recommended
approaches for physician interactions and communication with bereaved patients.
The authors reviewed the evidence of benefit for social support, skill building,
active daily routines, and narrative disclosure by bereaved patients. Finally,
Drs Prigerson and Jacobs offered suggestions for professional intervention
with bereaved patients and guidelines for psychiatric referral of complicated
Markowitz AJ, Rabow MW. Caring for Bereaved Patients: "All the Doctors Just Suddenly Go". JAMA. 2002;287(7):882. doi:10.1001/jama.287.7.882
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