Saturday, September 6, 2014

End-of-Life Prison Care: Administrators and Hospice Volunteer Prisoners (Research, Video 4:19)

Thousands of men and women die in prisons every year. It is estimated that 20% of America’s prison population will be elderly by 2025. Many will eventually need quality end-of-life care. More prisons are establishing hospice programs for an aging prison population.

What do prison administrators say about these changing practices in caring for the terminally ill and their impact on the prison system? Research findings compiled through interviews with administrators from the central office of a state department of corrections reported them stating that the following influences impact prison end-of life care:

    1) Local prison culture
    2) Treatment vs. security focus
          3) Case by case consideration
          4) Public sentiment
          5) Budget concerns
          6) Conflicting views of service targets

This information provides a better understanding of how administrators can accommodate these changing practices in end-of-life care and infuse new practices in the future in the complex prison system caring for a stigmatized at-risk population.

Inmate hospice volunteers play an important role in many end-of-life prison programs. If a terminally ill patient is in prison, attentive caregiving can be especially beneficial when given by familiar faces of those who have also experienced the prison system. In this video, Kandyce Powel, executive director of the Maine Hospice Council, and members of the Maine State Prison hospice team share their perspectives on serving prisoners at the end of their lives:

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

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