The Portal of Geriatrics Online Education

Elder Care A Resource for Interprofessional Providers: Ambiguous Loss


Elder Care A Resource for Interprofessional Providers: Ambiguous Loss

U of A College of Medicine
Carol O. Long PhD RN, Suzy Favaro MSW LCSW, Heather Mulder
Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
Geriatric Education Center (GEC)
POGOe Id: 
Date Posted: 
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 

Ambiguous Loss is one of a continuing series of practical, evidence based, Provider Fact Sheets which summarize key geriatric topics and provide clinically useful assessments and interventions. Initially developed for remote, rural clinical sites, they are useful for students and health care professionals from many fields and across a very broad range of health care settings.

Educational objectives: 

After reading this issue of Elder Care, you should be able to…

  1. Define ambiguous loss and explain the context in which it occurs
  2. Explain the concept of “dual thinking” as it applies to dealing with ambiguous loss
  3. Give caregivers and family members advice on how to deal with ambiguous loss
Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

Subscribers to POGOe are free to reprint Elder Care on their own stationery or in other publications without obtaining specific permission, so long as:

  1. Content is not changed,
  2. No one is charged a fee to use or read the publication,
  3. Authors and their affiliated institutions are noted without change, and
  4. The reprint includes the following statement: “Reprinted courtesy of the Arizona Reynolds Program of Applied Geriatrics and the Arizona Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program”. 
Estimated time to complete: 
30 minutes
Conflict of Interest Disclosure: 
No, I (we) have nothing to disclose.
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:
Suggested Citation:
Elder Care A Resource for Interprofessional Providers: Ambiguous Loss. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2017 Available from: