For many, palliative care is a distant thought. We know it exists but hope we will never have to use its services. For those who require it, palliative care can bring with it a wave of emotions and sweeping changes that upend their lives and cement their place among the dying.
For healthcare workers in palliative care, it can be difficult to assist patients in finding comfort in emotionally and physically painful experiences, all which are occurring in a time that feels too short.
What the New York Times article, “In Life’s Last Moments, Open a Window” tells us is that perhaps it is our pre-conceived notions about palliative care that make it difficult to see that sometimes the solution is simple. Many of the patients described in the article get joy from the immediacy of looking outside and seeing nature, from being in the here and now.
The author of the article sums up her experience working in palliative care by saying “what dominates my work is not proximity to death but the best bits of living.” Perhaps this way of looking at end-of-life care that has been overlooked, all of us looking for a more complicated answer instead of looking out the window.
End-of-life care is an important, often under-discussed part of ageing. IFA expert Dr Fiona Aspinal has knowledge of identifying issues important to palliative care patients and their families. Contact Dr Aspinal to learn more.
Dr. Fiona Aspinal Research Fellow
Fiona Aspinal is a research fellow at York University, United Kingdom