The therapeutic use of life review provides nurses with a framework for clinical interactions.

It was a short but memorable clinical encounter, initiated with the eldest of 3 living sons. The men’s mother, an 87-year-old frail, Chinese-born woman, had just been terminally extubated. A palliative care nurse was facilitating the woman’s life review with the sons, who were recounting harrowing tales of their mother’s life in Hong Kong during World War II: how people commonly ate animals off the street and weeds growing in the cracks of buildings to survive. Prompted to share their “gifts of the heart”—what their mother taught them about life and living that would resonate in their hearts—the sons spent the next hour in soft-spoken reflection at the bedside. As time progressed, a healing space was created, echoing the words of Curtis and Eldridge2 (pp38–40):

Using the...

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