Crossing Onto Someone Else’s Dance Floor

With Elizabeth Causton, MSW

The dance floor is a metaphor for the relationships in a family. This metaphor is used in two quite interesting palliative care stories to explain why it is important for caregivers to stay off the family dance floor.



  • 0:48 What changes and what is lost when a caregiver moves onto the dance floor of the dying person?
  • 1:50 Problems with crossing onto their family dance floor: When we enter the family dance, we are most likely to go out next to the person most like ourselves.
  • 2:22 Problems with crossing onto their family dance floor: When on someone else’s dance floor, we lose objectivity and credibility as a caregiver. This reduces our effectiveness and fragments the family.
  • 3:10 Story: When we get on the dance floor, it gets complicated. Whose place are we taking?
  • 6:33 What needs to happen if you find yourself on the dance floor?
  • 7:40 Are there times when it is appropriate to be on the dance floor?
  • 8:15 Story: What happens when an caregiver forms a special relationship with one resident?
    1. What is the impact of colleagues?
    2. What is the impact on the ability of colleagues to provide care when she (the RCA) isn’t around?
    3. What will be the impact on the RCA when the resident dies?
    4. What will be the impact on the RCA’s children when the resident dies?
  • 12:10 Therapeutic boundaries are important because they help us to remember that we are there as caregivers. We have our own lives. We are not their family.
  • 12:36 End.

All Rights Reserved. Life and Death Matters, 2015