Thursday, July 14, 2016

A doctor focused on dying finds lessons for better living

"Last year, 40-plus percent of Americans who died were enrolled in hospice. By some measures that’s great. But if you start looking at those numbers, fully a third of those people were in hospice for less than a week, which is really a problem for a number of reasons. So we’ve got a long ways to go....When someone asks me the question, I say palliative care is a multidisciplinary pursuit of quality of life. It doesn’t say anything about death or dying. It focuses on quality of life. And not in a positive spin, turn-that-frown-upside-down way. It’s real. Anyone who does work in hospice will tell you that, yeah, sure, it’s about death, sure, it’s about suffering, but these are the foils for happiness, for beauty, for meaning making. That’s the full equation we need to get across to people. That somehow living and dying aren’t opposed. They’re absolutely entwined with each other. And that frame shift is really novel. Palliative care is all about quality of life;a bunch of disciplines working together to support the patient and family, to eke out the best quality of life possible.

A doctor focused on dying finds lessons for better living

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