Students in a death and dying class have the opportunity to become a ‘death ambassador,’ in recognition of their new level of awareness that could help foster healthy conversations about death and dying.
All of us face loss and the reality of our own mortality. Whether through in-person discussion or over social media, let’s build communities that support people navigating death and dying.
Over 20% of people diagnosed with brain cancer survive longer than five years. But the NDIS may not recognise their need for support to live, work, learn and play.
Even for an experienced health-care professional, estimating the life expectancy of a patient with a serious illness is challenging.
An accurate prediction of survival can enable earlier conversations about preferences and wishes at the end of life, and earlier introduction of palliative care.
Palliative care is often seen as a ‘last resort’ rather than a service that empowers terminally ill people to live as well as possible for as long as possible.
There is debate about whether a health-care worker can ethically participate in both palliative care and the MAID program.
Bill C-7 has created ethical tensions between MAID providers and palliative care, between transparency and patient privacy, and between offering a dignified death rather than a dignified life.
A core focus of palliative care is on easing symptoms and increasing quality of life for people who have a serious or chronic illness, and not solely for those who are dying.
The challenging realities surrounding end-of-life care are especially difficult for older people experiencing homelessness, who have more barriers to accessing hospice care.
Gaps between health systems can mean NDIS participants at the end of their lives don’t have the support of their regular NDIS support workers.
Several factors ranging from personal spiritual beliefs to patient relationships to medical legal issues can influence whether a health-care practitioner participates in providing medical assistance in dying (MAID).
For people to access medical assistance in dying (MAID) requires health-care professionals willing to provide the service. The reasons health-care providers choose not to participate are important.
Avoiding talk of death won’t make it disappear.
Palliative care tries to support a patient’s quality of life.
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Palliative care, often misunderstood, is not synonymous with hospice care.
You can start these conversations simply, like saying, “I need to think about the future. Can you help me?”
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When you prepare to talk about end-of-life decisions and the legacy you want to leave behind, try thinking about them as gifts you bestow to family and friends.
Getting a referral to palliative care can be a complicated process.
Palliative care is about living well and meeting patients’ goals, but referral can be more complex than access to medical assistance in dying (MAID). Palliative care should be as accessible as MAID.
Evidence suggests messages the patient thought to be crystal clear often appear unclear to doctors and family.
Prisons need to improve services for chronic conditions, mental health, and palliative care.
Andrew Mercer/ Wikimedia
Despite the disproportionate numbers of Aboriginal people in prisons, there are near to no cultural protocols in place, and chronic illness is often not addressed.
The case for letting people go gentle into that good night.
Improving death-friendliness offers further opportunity to improve social inclusion. A death-friendly approach could lay the groundwork for people to stop fearing getting old or alienating those who have.
Death-friendly communities that welcome mortality might help us live better lives and provide better care for people at the end of their lives.
Many Australians come to the end of their life while living in aged care. But damningly, the aged care royal commission found many residents have worse palliative care options than those living elsewhere.
Minister of Justice David Lametti gives a thumbs up as he rises to vote in favour of a motion on Bill C-7, medical assistance in dying, in the House of Commons on Dec. 10, 2020.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Expanding access to medical assistance in dying (MAID) to those not terminally ill puts vulnerable people at risk of feeling pressured into MAID, and doctors at risk of being forced to facilitate it.
The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association is calling on health authorities to “implement a more compassionate approach to end-of-life visitations … during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Preventing people from dying alone in a pandemic takes ingenuity and money, but it’s the right thing to do.
Healthcare staff may not know how to meet an LGBT patient’s unique needs.
Mr.songkod Sataratpayoon/ Shutterstock
Lack of training and skills among those who work in the area may lead to LGBT people receiving poorer palliative care.