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Unknown Tomorrows: A Caregiver's Guide to Companioning the Seriously Ill

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About the Course:

Unknown Tomorrows provides an insightful journey into the death and dying process. A caregiver tells the story of a dear friend who passed away after a valiant four-year battle with cancer. This book tells the story from diagnosis to death and all the learning, pain, and triumphs in between. It provides professional and lay caregivers a down-to-earth, clear, and validating source of guidance. The book weaves a true life narrative with valuable information about caregiver burdens as well as insights from a very honest and articulate dying patient. This course provides help to professional caregivers of the dying in understanding what the dying really experience as well as what the caregiving family and friends who stand at their sides suffer. Those dealing with seriously ill patients must also deal with family members and friends who are also in a great deal of pain. This course provides insight into that pain, allowing a greater level of insight and understanding for those who interact with patients and their loved ones.

Note: The course material is also available as an ebook that can be purchased at a reduced cost. The link to the course material provides the two options of book or ebook.

This course is based on the book and reading-based online, Unknown Tomorrows: A Caregiver’s Guide to Companioning the Seriously Ill created by Catherine M.Canning

Publication Date:

March 2005

Course Material Author

Catherine M.Canning

Canning resides in South Texas where she is a single mother of an adopted son. Her professional experience and education include 24 years of teaching and a B.A. and M.A. in English. In 1994, a dear friend and colleague of hers was diagnosed with cancer. For reasons the book explains, she offered to be her caregiver while she fought a battle against cancer. Canning looked for a book to assist her, but did not find any that were written for the caregiver with the honesty and detail she sought. So, before her loved one died, she decided she would write that book herself so that those who followed her into caregiving would not feel so overwhelmed, lost, and alone. Following the death of her loved one, Canning was invited to work at the local hospice organization as an educator and Bereavement Facilitator for caregivers, patients, and their families. Her three years as a hospice employee served only to validate the need for her book as she went from house to house answering all the same questions she had when she struggled with the caregiving role. The successful adoption of her son as an infant required that she return to a teaching career as it was more conducive to single parenting. Had that adoption not worked out, she would probably still be with hospice today, helping caregivers and families lift their loved ones to heaven.

Course Creator

Keith Gibson, Ph.D.

Recommended For:

Doctors, nurses and aides at all levels, social workers, counselors, therapists, grief counselors or facilitators, hospice personnel of any type, hospice volunteers, priests and pastors, chaplains, anyone working closely with seriously ill or dying patients and their family/friends.

Course Objectives:

  1. Gain insight into the profound emotional process experienced by seriously/terminally ill patients, beginning with diagnosis through to death if it occurs.

  2. Recognize and examine the reality that patients are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually affected by their disease process, as well as physically affected.

  3. Become aware of various approaches that provide aid, comfort, or ease to seriously/terminally ill patients.

  4. Examine the challenges and burdens that caregivers face when taking on the caregiving role.

  5. Learn coping skills and behaviors that help caregivers survive overwhelming caregiving demands.

  6. Gain awareness into the areas of patient advocacy, patient rights, and caregiver responsibility in assisting the patient have concerns and desires heard while in a medical setting.

  7. Understand how caregivers can deal with delicate, personal, end-of-life decisions faced by the patient.

  8. Learn about end-of-life stage physical and emotional changes in the patient as well as signs and symptoms of approaching death.

  9. Recognize that caregivers face additional hurdles in progressing through a grief process as a result of having been so intimately and constantly involved in a loved one’s care.

  10. Understand that grief is a unique process for each individual and one deserving of compassion, patience, and respect.

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Exam Questions

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Categorized in:

Course Number 101083
4 credit hours
Log in for credit hours relevant to your licensure.

  • Book
  • Reading-Based Online
Exam Fee: No Longer Available
4.56 out of 5
54 members have taken this course


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