End-of-life care: no, we don’t all want ‘whatever it takes’ to prolong life

This article originally appeared in The Conversation

Charles Corke, Deakin University

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

Elsewhere in the Palliverse: Weekend Reads

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:

Dementia researchers Muireann Irish and Rebekah Ahmed give their take on the new film adaptation of Still Alice, a novel about a 50 year old woman who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Have you read the book? Will you see the movie? (Still Alice: A rare look at how dementia steals memories from millions – The Conversation)

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)

Continue reading

Elsewhere in the Palliverse – holiday addition

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:

Continue reading

Elsewhere in the Palliverse – weekend reads

Gratuitous holiday snap unrelated to post

Gratuitous holiday snap unrelated to post

I’ll be spending the weekend enjoying the sunshine reminiscing 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.