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Solutions for avoiding aggressive EOL care

Many older patients today are not getting what they wanted. Instead, they are receiving invasive--and unproductive--care in the last month of their lives. As Paula Span eloquently explains in her The New York Times article, Aggressive Medical Care Remains Common at Life's End, elder care is fraught with these trials and tribulations. While the systemic reasons for these failures and frustrations would take an entire book to explain (trust me--my book is available April 4th), Span points to two potentially powerful solutions:

  • Making more of an effort to offer patients Palliative Care Consults before offering aggressive end-of-life treatments like chemotherapy, dialysis, surgery, or a visit to the ICU.

  • Allowing patients the option to continue curative treatment while in hospice. Reforming Medicare to allow this would benefit everyone. In fact, VA Insurance has found it beneficial to offer curative care in hospice. Even Medicare itself piloted a project showing that hospice with curative care improves experience and lowers costs.

If you found Span's article of interest, you might benefit from my book, The Journey’s End, which was written to help you avoid a similar fate at your life's end.

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