Intensive Care not Always the Best

monitor in the room. intensive care unit. photo.

When faced with end-of-life decisions, all too often, end-of-life care becomes about those who are living and not about the actual person who’s dying.   What we have to remind ourselves of, though, is that it’s not about us, it’s about our loved one. And for physicians, it should be about their patient. Does he or she want to live bed-bound in a skilled nursing facility with a feeding tube? For some patients, the answer is yes. But for others, it’s a no. As a culture, we have come to believe that “life” trumps quality of life when having to make tough decisions. Whether it is expected or not, the loss of someone you love dearly is unimaginable. But we can honor these people in death the way we honor them in life, by supporting their wishes and values.

Too often physicians see death as a failure on their part. Health care professionals receive a minimal amount of training and education regarding end-of-life care. Patients and families are asked often if they “would like everything done?” prompting them to a “yes.” A “yes” is the green light for resuscitation measures to be taken and the unpleasant procedures that constitute doing everything initiate. Then we are faced with the question of  “Would I rather have quality time at home with family and loved ones or spend my time suffering in the hospital?” In the actuality of dealing with a life threatening disease, most individuals want to be in the comforts of their own home, surrounded by loved-ones. Not shuffling back and forth from an intensive care unit.

It is important to talk with your physician and family members so that they know your wishes should you be faced with a life-limiting-illness. Discuss in-patient care vs remaining at home. What are the benefits? What are the downfalls? You should make a decision that’s right for you-you have options and ultimately your decision is what counts. The simplest, but not always the easiest, way is to talk about these things before an illness. For more information on CompassionCare or hospice, call us today 702-636-0200.