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End-of-life issues

August 1, 2010
by Liza Burger, MSW
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Planning ahead maintains resident dignity

Life's journey

Because of my role as a social worker in the long-term care setting, so often I am asked, “How can you deal with so much sadness and loss?” referring to the eventual death of some residents in our care. Indeed, I need to feel the sense of loss that comes when an individual dies. If I become hardened to this, it's time to find another profession. Death is an integral part of life's journey. If I can help someone see this by finding closure at the end of life, or expressing love to another, it makes this journey just a little bit sweeter.

Liza Burger, MSW, is the Director of Social Work at Groton Community Health Care Center in Groton, New York. She can be reached at

lburger@cortlandregional.org. Long-Term Living 2010 August;59(8):36-37