Palliative care - It’s a Matter of Life or Death
There is so much confusion when it comes to dying and healthcare in the United States. This new century is an opportunity to create a new approach toward our life and death issues.
One in every four Medicare dollars are spent for care in the last year of life. Today fifteen percent of the national Gross Domestic Product is spent on fifteen percent of the population equalling $2.3 trillion.. Fast forward twenty years when Baby Boomers join this stage, we will be committing 60% of our GDP for senior healthcare, much of this spent in death care. It’s time to change this trend.
Dying, whether long anticipated or sudden onset, is influenced by cultural and religious beliefs that determine our approach to this journey. Many among us turn to the healthcare professionals for information and direction in making many overwhelming decisions.
Doctors are trained to ‘heal’ people. This belief in medicine as the savior has been perpetuated and promoted with new technologies and pharmacology that can extend life.
The aggressive medical heroics of continuing to treat a terminal disease in hopes of a cure are amazing stories. Terminal care most often focuses on a disease state, an organ system. It’s clinical. It’s like an extraterrestrial has found it’s way into the body that must be battled. It’s so mysterious. Reality sets in when the aggressive treatment leads to complications, depression, financial bankruptcy and/or some other factor that finally exhausts the viable treatment options.
Hospice is the end of life comprehensive care for a gentler sendoff in the final phase of a terminal disease. Hospice takes a team approach for this final journey. Hospice home care takes an interdisciplinary team approach to crafting a individualized, culturally sensitive plan caring for the patient, caregivers and family members alike. Hospice facilities create a new care model to support and honor the life of the individual.
It is a matter of life or death
A 2012 study at Harvard University Medical Center studied the quality of life of terminal lung cancer patients using traditional aggressive medical care compared to those who chose a palliative care plan. Contrary to the promise of chemotherapy, radiation and other therapies, the aggressive treatment group had shorter life spans and poorer quality of life during the last months of life.
What is Palliative Care? Palliative care tells the truth about the terminal disease. Palliative care starts at the time of diagnosis focusing on what you hold sacred. Palliative care practitioners have honest conversations about the diagnosis and prognosis not to scare patient but to facilitate acceptance and honest planning. Join us at REUNIONCare in creating a Circle of Care to support this life to death journey.