Sunday, January 24, 2016

Unequal Lives, Unequal Deaths - The New York Times

 "Death may be humanity’s great equalizer, but the inequalities suffered in life – leading to a shorter life expectancy – become inequalities in the experience of dying as well.

When I began my career, I had naïvely assumed that, if time were short, who wouldn’t prefer the familiarity of home and palliative medicine’s focus on quality of life to the chaotic mess of the hospital? But I’ve learned that even when my patients accept hospice services, the proverbial “good death at home” is often out of their reach. Fully experiencing the benefits of home hospice requires resources: involved, dedicated family members. Money to afford caregivers, particularly in the absence of involved family members. A neighborhood whose local pharmacy actually stocks opiate medications for severe pain. Insurance that covers stays in nursing homes so that family members can simply be family members instead of caretakers.

Without these luxuries, which so many others take for granted, dying at home could actually be less comfortable than dying in the hospital. Over this past year, I have stepped across the wide gap between my idealistic conception of hospice care and the reality of providing it amid life circumstances that shape the circumstances of dying."



Unequal Lives, Unequal Deaths - The New York Times:




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