Humans need to address the fact that they will not live forever, the earlier in life the better. We need to experience death as a concept before we experience it as a reality. Ditto with grief. If we teach our children that death is a part of the life cycle for humans, and that we do not know how much time we have, perhaps our children would value every moment they’ve got.
Physicians need to be reimbursed for the time spent discussing this reality with their patients. So much of our healthcare budget is spent on treatments that might prolong a patient’s life beyond what they truly want, giving them quantity without quality. So many patients wish to die at home, but don’t know what a viable option that really is. So many do not want heroic measures used to save their lives, but because they’ve never discussed it with their loved ones (or even realized that the discussion needs to happen) they will be hospitalized and ventilated and fed through a tube well beyond what they would have wished.
Families need to have marching orders from their loved ones before their loved ones are unable to speak. Remember Terri Schiavo, anyone? Advance Directive planning is a blessing to the patient, family and provider. If you wish for heroic measures to be taken, that’s all well and good, but if not your family needs to know, and they need to know now. Your preferences will change with time and with your own health. This is an ongoing consideration for us all.
I will talk frankly with my child (in age-appropriate ways) about death and the fact that none of us get out of this aliveMinimizing fear through calm discussion and openess to her questions, willingness to go with her to the hard places.
How Doctors Die – The Health Care Blog
“It’s not a frequent topic of discussion, but doctors die, too. And they don’t die like the rest of us. What’s unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared to most Americans, but how little. For all the time they spend fending off the deaths of others, they tend to be fairly serene when faced with death themselves. They know exactly what is going to happen, they know the choices, and they generally have access to any sort of medical care they could want. But they go gently.”