Having an advance care directive ensures your values and wishes are known, even beyond a time when you can no longer speak for yourself.
At least one-third of patients receive non-beneficial treatments at the end of their life. Having a good advance care directive that you share with others helps them know and respect your wishes.
Research shows some families pressure doctors to attempt heroic interventions on elderly relatives.
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We found one third of patients near the end of their life received non-beneficial treatments in hospitals around the world. These included initiating chemotherapy and providing emergency surgery.
California is the fifth state to legalize aid in dying.
Hands image via www.shutterstock.com.
Why have Americans become more receptive to aid in dying, a practice that was rejected throughout the United States until Oregon changed course in 1997?
People who are over 90 when they die need considerably more support with every aspect of their daily life in their final year.
It is rare to hear from people in their tenth or eleventh decade but their voices are crucial to shaping end-of-life care services.
Palliative care aims to comfort rather than cure.
Palliative care should be a time of shared care; when the doctor continues treating their patient's disease while symptom control and preparation for death track alongside.
People nearing the end of their life often express fear of dying alone.
Research shows people who suffer from loss of meaning die earlier than those who maintain purpose. We can help people find meaning again by nurturing their "spirit".
Access to euthanasia in Belgium has been “expanding” but it’s not out of control.
Let's consider some of the oft-voiced concerns and whether they're justified.
Having another option may make me worse off, and less free to do what I really value, than not having it.
Intuitively, we believe offering someone options automatically expands their freedom. But that isn't always true. Sometimes, more options can lead to less freedom.
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People at the end of life may not actually be the best target for expensive drugs.
Most Australians would rather die at home than in a hospital ward, so why aren’t we enabling this?
Despite Australians' wishes, we spend more on people dying in hospital than enabling them to die at home.
According to some surveys, more than 90% of owners view their pets as members of the family.
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In the past, owners were quick to put their pets down. Now, with many viewing pets as family members, are they waiting too long?
Doctor and patient via www.shutterstock.com
A new Medicare proposal would reimburse doctors for appointments to help patients plan what care they would want if they are too ill to speak for themselves. It's about time.
The concept of a timely and dignified death has been replaced by an imperative to keep us alive at all costs.
We all die eventually, of course, but these days it's very hard for doctors and loved ones to let patients and relatives die without doing "whatever it takes".
It’s the exceptional cases you hear about.
Studies have found that doctors often overestimate survival in terminally ill patients, not the other way round.
Dying with dignity.
Systemic change is need to ensure that patients' voices are heard when doctors make decisions about end-of-life care.
Before patients can state their preferences about dying, they need to talk about them first.
Doctor and patient via michaeljung/Shutterstock
Conversations around end-of-life medical care can be challenging. Consider someone I’ll call Mrs. Jones, an elderly patient with advanced heart disease. When her doctor asked her to discuss the kind of…
Most children have never had legal capacity and are reliant on parents to make health-care decisions for them.
The diagnosis of a palliative illness in a child or adolescent is devastating for all involved: parents, family members and the children themselves, as they grieve for life they had planned and believed…
Just 14% of Australians have an advance care plan.
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More than half of Australians have a will (59%) to determine how their property will be divided after they die. And 30% have appointed a power of attorney to make financial decisions if they lose the capacity…
We all have the legal right to refuse health care.
Have you thought about how you would want to be treated if you cannot make your own decisions? You may be unconscious after car accident, you may be so ill you cannot communicate, or you may be dying and…
The majority of Australians want to die at home but just 14% are able to do so.
The baby boomers are growing old and in the next 25 years the number of Australians who die each year will double. People want to die comfortably at home, supported by family and friends and effective…