Posts tagged “Hospice”

When Facing Death, Words Can Do a Lot.

In this podcast, Dr. Ira Byock highlights the importance of healing old relational wounds.  I am excited to share this because many of the people I see for grief counseling would be in far less pain today had they had the opportunity to have these sorts of conversations with their loved ones.  While still very possible, it's much harder to reconcile old wounds when the other person is no longer here.  Should you have the opportunity now, consider your future grief and don't wait.

Grief

Dr. Byock advises four statements that can guide these conversations.  I think they can also be a useful way of understanding about what grieving people need to reconcile before they can move forward following a death.

  • Please forgive me
  • I forgive you
  • Thank you
  • I love you

Listen to this fantastic podcast, or give me a call 720-515-9427 if you would like help mending or clarifying your relationships before you or a loved one dies.

Can Hospice Care Actually Lengthen Life?

The typical debate about hospice care vs. aggressive medical treatment is one of quality vs. quantity.  Hospice care emphasizes symptom management and emotional support, ideally leading patients and families to have a higher quality of life.  Aggressive medical treatment emphasizes curing or stalling an illness, ideally leading patients and families to have more quantity of life.  Research shows, though, that's not always the case.

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This preliminary study examined these ideas and found that hospice was not associated with shorter survival.  In fact, for some illnesses (CHF, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer) hospice enrollment was actually associated with longer survival. Perhaps the conventional wisdom associating hospice with quality while aggressive treatment is associated with quantity is too limited of a view?  There may be cases where hospice care can increase both the quality and quantity of a patients life.

Furthermore, this (false?) dichotomy between quality or quantity at the end of life disregards a little known, and important, third option I will write about at another time: palliative care.