• Insights into the Practice of Palliative Sedation: A Literature Review

      Lowey, Susan E.; Zimmerman, Mara P.; State University of New York College at Brockport (2020-09-16)
      Terminal illness and the concept of death and dying are sensitive topics, especially when relating them to the people we hold near and dear. Unfortunately, along with the end of life comes an unsurmountable amount of pain and suffering for people facing serious illness. For patients with a terminal illness, palliative and hospice care treatment measures are implemented to manage symptoms, provide peace, and enhance the quality of the final days of life. Palliative sedation is one of these measures. It will be explored in depth in order to gain a greater understanding of the treatment options available during this point in life. A review of the literature was performed to retrieve peer reviewed scientific research articles that focused on the use and effects of palliative sedation in persons nearing the end of life. Twenty articles met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review. Using the ethical principles as a conceptual guide, the benefits and risks associated with the implementation of palliative sedation were evaluated and discussed. Nurses who provide care to terminally ill patients should be educated about the use of palliative sedation as a viable option for management of refractory symptoms and existential suffering in patients at the end of life.
    • The Morality of Mortality: A Terror Management Explanation for the Immoral Atheist Stereotype and Anti-Atheist Prejudice

      Ratcliff, Jennifer J.; Brand, Peter; State University of New York College at Brockport (2020-09-14)
      The predominant explanation for anti-atheist prejudice posits that atheists are stigmatized because they are perceived as morally threatening. However, recent work suggests that prejudice against atheists may actually ensue from the ostensible existential threat posed by the group. According to terror management theory, humans have an innate fear of death that is attenuated by religious beliefs. These creeds are reflected and reinforced by specific moral values. Because atheists do not believe in a deity, they may be perceived as concurrently lacking such morals and posing a significant existential threat. The current study tested the impact of priming mortality salience—subtle exposure to death-related stimuli—on perceived atheist immorality and anti-atheist prejudice. Seventy-eight students from an introductory psychology course participated for course credit. Participants were randomly assigned to write about their own death or a control topic. Those in both conditions completed measures of perceived atheist immorality and anti-atheist prejudice. The primary hypothesis that individuals who were primed to think about death would perceive atheists as posing a greater moral threat and, consequently, express greater prejudice against them than those in the control condition would was not supported. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.