Body of Knowledge Matrix

The Body of Knowledge Matrix emerged as members of ADEC's Credentialing Council, Body of Knowledge Committee, and Test Committee reflected on efforts to put into operation a valid exam measuring knowledge considered foundational to thanatology. The six categories (Y-axis) and ten indicators (X-axis) appearing below are considered fundamental to the understanding of thanatology. The examples in the various cells below are illustrative of topics considered probable when categories and indicators intersect.

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Indicators/
Categories
Cultural/Socialization Religious/Spiritual Professional Issues Historical Perspectives Contemporary Perspectives
DYING perspectives on dying, health care interactions, family roles facing death, rituals, meaning, suffering, impact on treatment decisions, afterlife, legacies self care, boundaries, compassion fatigue, burnout,  attitudes toward dying hospice,  causes and patterns of death in Western societies, influential theories global causes and patterns of death and lifestyle choices,  gender issues, impact of technology, influential theories, death attitudes, role of complementary/alternative therapies
END-OF-LIFE DECISION- MAKING advance care planning, ethnic issues, values and attitudes, gender advance care planning, values and attitudes, beliefs and doctrines,  suffering, sanctity of life, quality of life communication, understanding patient's rights landmark legal cases, attitudes toward final disposition, evolution of advance care planning options and choices, impact of medical technology, impact of media and internet
LOSS, GRIEF, & MOURNING factors affecting experience of and  expression of grief, impact on mourning practices meaning making, impact on mourning practices burnout, compassion fatigue, awareness of personal loss history, coping strategies, self assessment, self care, boundaries, clinical competency influential theories,  post-death activities influential theories and models, post-death practices, media and internet, intervention strategies
ASSESSMENT & INTERVENTION advance care planning, cultural competence, communication, meaning of death  components of spiritual assessment, interventions, facilitating integration of meaning and value of one's life appropriate components of assessments, communication, professional liability and limitations, determining appropriate interventions in concert with evidence and client characteristics, professional responsibilities changes in determination of death, intervention theories prior to 1990 current assessment models, current  therapeutic strategies, controversy about efficacy of interventions,  complicated grief, gender considerations, pathologizing of grief
TRAUMATIC DEATH cause of death, meaning making, advance care planning, ethnic issues, values and attitudes, gender meaning-making, rituals, impact of religion appropriate training, professional response, commemorative activities, vicarious traumatization previous major  traumatic occurrences recent/anticipated future traumatic occurrences, impact of communication systems, organ and tissue donation, current approaches
DEATH EDUCATION different death systems, diverse views about death diversity of religious beliefs, diversity of meaning making, diversity of spirituality evaluation of knowledge, criteria for an effective educator, methods, training specific to parameters of practice, media and internet attitudes towards death, history of thanatology as a discipline, historical eras advance care planning, influence of media and the internet, social concerns, components of death education


 

Indicators/ Categories Life Span Institutional/Societal Family & Individual Resources & Research Ethical/Legal
DYING
normative developmental tasks, developmental concepts of death, special populations hospice, palliative care, impact of politics, interacting with the healthcare system, special populations gender roles,  communication, cultural impact on family roles, family history, coping strategies current significant research findings, organizations and journals, media and internet allocation of resources, ethical principles, legislation/medical practice
END-OF-LIFE DECISION- MAKING impact of age on decision-making, determining competency to make decisions advance care planning, health care legislation, public/mass media and political impact on decision-making advance care planning, treatment decisions, communication, family systems media and internet, professional organizations, current significant research findings principles of medical ethics, advance directives, landmark cases, legal planning, decision-making processes
LOSS, GRIEF,
& MOURNING
impact of developmental stage on loss experience, specific types of loss and impact on grief and mourning media and internet, school/workplace grief, public deaths, political systems family life cycle, communication, impact of illness trajectory, grief styles, normative grief responses, impact of type of loss empirical research on current theories, research on effectiveness of intervention ethics and working with the bereaved, legal aspects of death
ASSESSMENT & INTERVENTION developmental considerations impact of death system, impact of societal infrastructure, contributions of grief support services family systems theory, gender issues, assessment of risk factors for complicated/prolonged grief, determining appropriateness of specific interventions  evidence of effectiveness of assessment and intervention, community programs determination of death, informed consent, ethical principles, legal parameters around death, professional responsibilities
TRAUMATIC DEATH death patterns, issues specific to each developmental phase meaning making, role of the media and internet, infrastructure, types of traumatic deaths, impact on specific populations impact on experience of grief, types of traumatic deaths, coping strategies, individual differences, vicarious traumatization, social support major national organizations, current significant research findings criminal justice system,  impact on larger society, ethical intervention issues
DEATH EDUCATION teaching across the life cycle, issues specific to each developmental phase, impact of life transitions influence of media and internet, varied educational settings, impact of larger systems, military formal, informal types of resources, understanding the research, importance of evidence-based practice, certification, professional organizations impact of legal system on death, understanding a professional code of ethics, applying principles of ethic