Articles on Palliative care

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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.” (Shutterstock)

Coronavirus public health restrictions shouldn’t mean dying alone

Preventing people from dying alone in a pandemic takes ingenuity and money, but it’s the right thing to do.
In a research study, 84 per cent of residents and families who received a pamphlet about end-of-life choices felt encouraged to think about their future care. (Shutterstock)

To die well, we must talk about death before the end of life

The seriously ill and their families often want to protect each other from thoughts of death. Conversation about end-of-life choices are, however, essential to a good death.
Without an understanding of the complexities of medically assisted dying, it’s difficult for patients and families to make good decisions. (Shutterstock)

Why people choose medically assisted death revealed through conversations with nurses

Nurses who surround the process of medically assisted dying are an important source of insight into the real conversations our society needs to have about what it's really like.
A person wanting to access voluntary assisted dying must meet strict criteria, including having a medical condition that is considered to be advanced and progressive. From shutterstock.com

WA’s take on assisted dying has many similarities with the Victorian law – and some important differences

Western Australia might soon become the second state in Australia to legalise voluntary assisted dying. Its proposed law draws on the Victorian model, but has some important differences, too.
On June 19, Victoria will become the first state in Australia to legalise voluntary assisted dying. From shutterstock.com

We don’t know all the details of how voluntary assisted dying will work yet – but the system is ready

As we sit on the cusp of voluntary assisted dying becoming legal in Victoria, we expect it won't always be simple for people who want it to access it – at least in the legislation's early days.
Palliative radiation therapy is effective regardless of a patient’s original cancer site (for example breast, lung or kidney) and is usually delivered in one to 10 daily doses. (Shutterstock)

Cancer pain can be eased by palliative radiation therapy

Palliative radiation therapy can improve a cancer patient's life, by alleviating pain and other symptoms. Unfortunately, some doctors associate the term with end-of-life care and fail to refer people.
Palliative care nurses, social workers and people from the funeral industry are among those who work as death doulas. From shutterstock.com

Death doulas can fill care gaps at the end of life

You've more than likely heard of birth doulas. But nowadays, death doulas are providing support at the end of life. How they fit into existing structures of care remains to be understood.
In one study of seriously ill older Canadians, 28 per cent of participants wanted “comfort care” (meaning no curative treatments) but this was documented in only four per cent of their charts. (Shutterstock)

Poor communication is compromising care for the dying

Most elderly Canadians do not receive the end-of-life care they desire. A new study hopes to rectify this.
Symptoms of an illness usually improve the closer a person gets to dying. Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

No, most people aren’t in severe pain when they die

Excruciating pain at the end of life is extremely rare. The evidence shows pain and other symptoms, such as fatigue, insomnia and breathing issues, actually improve as people move closer to death.

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