Final Conversations: Overview and Practical Implications for Patients, Families, and Healthcare Workers
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The current paper presents a summary of a 12-year body of research on final conversations, which will be useful for healthcare providers who work with patients and family nearing the end-of-life, as well as for patients and their family members. Final conversations encompass any and all conversations that occur between individuals with a terminal diagnosis and their family members (all participants are aware that their loved one is in the midst of the death journey). Final conversations take the family member's perspective and highlights what are their memorable messages with the terminally ill loved one. In this paper the authors highlight the message themes present at the end-of-life for both adults and children, the functions each message theme serves for family members, and lastly, the communicative challenges of final conversations. Additionally, the authors discuss the current nature and future of final conversations research, with special attention paid to practical implications for healthcare providers, patients, and family members; also, scholarly challenges and future research endeavors are explored.