Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Why don't we demand more palliative care?

With some ailments, you may need to settle for feeling better not getting better.

Palliative care is more than helping people die--it's about comfort and support. Also, I have heard--music, companionship, being with pets, good food. This according to Barbara Sadick, WSJ, Sept 15, 2014.

Such care--combined with the regular care--helps people live longer. Sadick interviewed Diana Meier, director of the Center for Advance Palliative Care.

Meier emphasizes that this is NOT brink of death care. It's a medical specialty--recognized in 2008.

But the health system is in flux between fee for service and paying for volume. Palliative care prevents or delays hospitalizations--hospitals need that money.

Most patients and families don't know about palliative care. Most doctors also don't understand it and won't recommend it until the patient is "dying."

Check out www.getpalliativecare.org.

My own mother went into "hospice" late in the game, already unconscious from some cerebral event. They withdrew all food and water and she lay there on heavy doses of morphine, although she had no pain, until
she died in eight days. I was shocked at this, water, too?

I am sure good palliative care is a comfort to families and patients. I am sure our experience was not typical.

At least I hope not.

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