We all die eventually, of course, but these days it’s very hard for doctors and loved ones to let patients and relatives die without first doing “whatever it takes” to try to keep them alive. That is, unless they’ve left clear instructions to the contrary.
The overwhelming priority for doctors is to save life. In the last few decades, technologies have progressed so far and fast that doctors are able to embark on treatments that until recently did not exist, or were too risky to consider.
The extra years of good health are wonderful. But everything comes at a price. While we and our loved ones can often be kept alive, this may involve burdensome treatment and awful outcomes.
But while the default position of medicine is to prolong life, staying alive isn’t everyone’s number-one priority, as my soon-to-be published survey results reveal. Continue reading →
Hi and welcome to the first “Elsewhere in the Palliverse” for 2015. There is an (unintentional) geriatric flavour to this week’s links. This is possibly because today marks the end of a six-month geriatrics rotation for me, or maybe because another year has ended and birthday has passed. Regardless, I hope that Palliverse readers enjoy the following links:
Professor Rod McLeod gives some background on his article in this month’s European Journal of Palliative Care, ‘Making it easier to die at home – an innovative programme in New South Wales, Australia’. (Making it easier to die at home – EAPC Blog)
If you’re lucky enough to have a break over the summer holiday season, I would advise that you to avoid anything work-related. However, if you just can’t pull yourself away from the worlds of palliative care and research, here (in no particular order) are some related links:
Check out the short films from Little Stars TV, sharing stories of paediatric palliative care.
Need a last-minute gift for an older person? See GeriPal’s list of Gifts for Seniors (although my Dad didn’t seem to appreciate it when I shared it with him!)
A medical conference with rapping and singalongs? I’d love to attend this “creative medical conference“, which explores “the spaces between medicine and humanities and media and technology.” (Dotmed conference via Irish Times)
Some of our readers will be able to relate to this piece on the post-PhD slump. I am slowly working my way through the rest of this excellent blog, Patter, from Professor Pat Thomson.
The Heart Sisters blog (@HeartSisters) is a great read for a patient’s perspective of living with heart disease and navigating the health care system.
Another patient blog I recommend is Living with Bob (Dysautonomia) (@RustyHoe). She writes detailed, thoughtful posts about living with chronic illness. Her descriptions of dysautonomia symptoms are eloquent. I can’t do it justice. Check it out.
I’ll be spending the weekend enjoying the sunshinereminiscing over holiday snaps catching up with tweets from #CancerCongress, #PPCConference, #COSA2014 working on an ethics proposal. If you’re looking for something to do, try this reading list.
The Conversation takes a look at problems with peer review. “Many now believe that long-standing metrics of academic research – peer review, citation-counting, impact factor – are reaching breaking point. But we are not yet in a position to place complete trust in the alternatives – altmetrics, open science, and post-publication review.”