I’m a caregiving expert, with more than 30 years of experience in the field of aging, so you’d think I’d be fully prepared for a loved one’s death, especially when that person is older or has been battling illness.
Many Americans, it seems, have a hard time talking about death. Even doctors struggle to deal with the mortality of patients who they know aren’t going to make it.
It’s been more than 15 years since the Institute of Medicine released its seminal 1997 report detailing the suffering many Americans experience at the end of life and offering sweeping recommendations on how to improve care.
The swift, lethal nature of brain cancer — and the terrible decisions it forces families to face — has been in the news recently, with three of its victims forcing us to think about choices we hope we never have to make.
Nobody knew much about Roger. His niece had dropped him off at the nursing home one day, saying there was a family emergency. Could they keep him overnight?
When it comes to end-of-life medical decisions, Americans are divided over what they think is right: to pull out all the stops and try everything regardless of the situation, or discontinue treatment and allow someone to die if he or she chooses. A newly released survey by the Pew Research Center asked nearly 2,000 adults by telephone to weigh in on their beliefs, including the hot-button issue of physician-assisted suicide.
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