Monday, June 6, 2011

Hospice and Palliative Care

This TacomaGal is a recently retired oncology nurse.
I can tell you that there are a lot of very sick people out there who'd give their eye teeth to have someone tell them it’s ok to stop treatment so they can go home and stay home and be comfortable with their families.
The relief in someone's eyes when you ask them how they think this is all going and what they'd like to see happening is palpable--really.
Patients sometimes keep up a front because they don't want to disappoint their families or their doctors.
The atmosphere around end of life issues is much more open than it was 15-20 years ago but we still have a way to go.
Palliative care and hospice care are all around the country now but still not used optimally.

I think the death panel scare didn't go the way the Tea Party wanted because too many people have had very good care with hospice and palliation in the past few years. More and more people see the need for practical thinking as we come to the end of our lives. And, gratefully, more and more doctors are asking patients how they want to live their lives.

Euthanasia is a very personal decision and one I can understand all too well.
Hospice provides simple comfort and relief from the pain and anxiety at end of life.

For the chronically ill who are worn to a thin string and still can see years of suffering before them--that's the rock and the hard place--I would recommend to anyone who asked me about it to see a palliative care MD (if they can't talk to their own doc) and have a good long serious talk.

For those who don't know: palliative care is matching the patient's treatment to the patient's desires.
Ultimately all medical care is palliative.

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