end of life care
As a society we are clear that suicide is not something to be encouraged or assisted. Legalising assisted suicide flies in the face of that. It sends the message that, if you are terminally ill, ending your life is something that society endorses and that you might want to consider. Is that really the kind of society we want?
England has the chance through my Private Member's Bill to improve care. The Bill would require all commissioners to ensure their patient population has access to seven day specialist palliative care services, that patients and their families have a clear point of contact in a crisis, that there is advice available at all times to front line staff caring for dying patients and that such staff have all received core training in good end of life care.
"I have one regret," said Tokiko one day. "I wish I had written down my story. " It was surprising to hear that, because Tokiko, a survivor of The Battle of Okinawa, had lived her life without telling her past even to her son.
As a hospice music therapist I've met many people whose lives were well lived. But unfortunately, not everyone lives a fulfilled life. Even so, every dying person has something to teach the living.
There is no excuse for turning a blind eye to distress; those providing care, whether care assistant, family, nurse or doctor need to know they are supported in doing what the patient needs, not shackled by risk averse attitudes that paralyse common sense and hinder care provision.
A report into end of life care has offered an insight into "appalling" incidents of patient neglect during the final moments
The majority of people with Parkinson's would prefer to die at home but research suggests they are more likely to die in hospital. That's why at Parkinson's UK we are calling for more work to be done to help people communicate their wishes about their death in the early stages of the condition.
Whether it's through writing a will, making financial plans, planning for our future care and support including through making a Lasting Power of Attorney, or deciding whether we want to join the organ donor, all of us can increase the likelihood of getting our wishes met and reduce the chances of life after our death becoming even more difficult for the people we care about.
The distinction in Hugo's care between 'there being no hope' and 'no further treatment' being worthwhile with 'nothing more can be done' is crucial. Nothing more could be done to save Hugo's life, but we were able to give him a good death.
Daniel was showing signs of "terminal agitation." People at the end of life often experience this state characterized by confusion and restlessness. As a hospice music therapist I had seen many patients in this state before.