Social work and end-of-life care

Social work is important in end-of-life care

Why is it accepable that health and social care professionals assume someone else has discussed end-of-life care options?

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And another argument for talking about end-of-life care planning, in the New York Times letter columns. Two astute points here: how easy it is not to discuss the end of life, and how family members and doctors may each assume that someone else has done the job.

There are plenty of reasons not to enter such sensitive discussions with elderly patients or parents. We don’t want to upset them. We assume that they would ask for details, if they wanted them. We think they know and understand their options, so we respectfully step back from painful conversations.

Doctors may assume that family members are talking about these issues; family members may assume the same about doctors. The subject is so sticky, so uncomfortable, that everyone is happy to avoid it or assign it to someone else.

We wouldn’t allow professionals in any field to get away with assuming someone else has done an important part of the job, so why do we allow it in end-of-life care planning?

You can contribute to the NYT debate.

Link to the NYT letter: Invitation to a dialogue.



Written by Malcolm Payne

3 August 2012 at 2:22 pm

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