The care is delivered to the patient and their family or support system, usually by a team of experts that include physicians, nurses, social workers, health aides, chaplains as well as support personnel."
This study is evidence of what can go wrong when doctors, patients and families fail to have frank and open communication about end-of-life care. It is also, in the clarion call of its conclusion, "a first step toward refocusing care on treatments that are more likely to benefit patients."
We don't always have the luxury of being able to manage our death, but there are options other than aggressive treatment that may be more appropriate for us -- depending on whether quality of life or quantity of life is more important to us.
How sad to live in a lie at the end of one's life. How sad to risk regrets, not realizing the blessings that come with the alternative -- a depth of intimacy that we may never have experienced before and that will never be available again.
You would think that Deb may be a little off her rocker if she's celebrating Christmas in August. Or, you would think she is completely lazy for not taking down the tree eight months ago. But, no, Deb is neither crazy nor lazy. Deb... is dying.
Have we done what we need to do to protect the people closest to us who will be left behind? Are our spouses, our children, or are partners prepared to make important decisions on our behalf, and have we given them clear instructions for doing so? I
Sometimes the hardest thing is to face the death of who we believed ourselves to be throughout our lives. Shedding the façade, peeling off the disguise, owning our choices, speaking our truth and being fully seen for who we are can be the most daunting death of all.
In Simon's case, the grace, respect and love with which he portrayed his mother transcends technology. It is his words, and the sentiments behind them, that resound in our hearts. He is writing a love poem to his mother, and power to any poem that has a readership of 1.2 million.
Late one evening, I was deeply immersed in editing the photographs I'd taken at the Cincinnati Zoo that day when I was startled by the phone ringing. I thought it was probably Ed, my Romanian life partner and soul mate. But it wasn't.
Death and dying are a natural part of life's continuum. The more we as a society discuss this ubiquitous stage of life, the more educated and empowered we will be to navigate our own final days and those of our loved ones.
August 2, 2008: I crawled into Robert's bed and wrapped my body around his. If I could only get close enough to make the last hour, the last months, disappear. I hugged him tightly, desperately. I wailed his name and listened to his silence, remembering his murmurs, his words of love.
If you're a friend or family member of a hospice patient, you could be facing a murder charge. That's the not-so-subtle message that Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is sending to dying patients and their families.
When Mr. Singh died in March, three generations of family members missed him terribly, but they knew they had done all they could to make sure that he died as he had lived -- at the center of his loving family.
The relocation of death from home to hospital, nursing home and funeral parlor has made it less familiar and consequently more frightening. Attempts to mask aging, while nothing new, have grown increasingly extreme and speak to a more intense reluctance to acknowledge the inevitable.