After reading the recent Alice Thomson’s article in the Times about people who would prefer to be able to choose a humane death, I felt I had to reply.
I would point out that as a provider of live-in care, we help people to stay in their own home who are often in the last years of their life and I have to say that I am yet to meet anyone who goes to sleep at night hoping that they don’t wake up in the morning – irrespective of what they thought in their younger years.
We celebrate that we are living longer and healthier – the result of the efforts of our excellent public health system, improved maternal health and the advances in medical science, but by the same token many worry about resources being “squandered” in proving good medical care for people who are in old age.
Resources are of course important – but equally it’s about wanting to help people to enjoy what they have left in life, using the abilities that they still have rather than focusing on what they don’t have. It’s about warmth and comfort and helping people to fade away with dignity.
With the support of the multi-professional health and social care teams in the community this is entirely possible. As our clients reach the end of their life, the community teams work sensitively with our clients and ourselves to produce an “Escalation Plan” ( the same as the emergency healthcare plan in the article) in order that we can follow client’s wishes about their ongoing treatment.
Well prepared end of life care removes the need to worry about when we can shake off our mortal coil – the trick is make sure that the right care remains available at the right time for people who need it.
We need to stop thinking of the elderly as a burden and see them as the interesting, caring, loving, funny, clever individuals they really are.
Here is the link to the Article: Alice Thomson