What is the relation between palliative care and euthanasia? Are they contraries or compatibles?
Terminal palliative care is right at the end of life. Euthanasia is limiting suffering by intentionally ending someone’s life, while palliative means limiting suffering and is helpful right from the beginning, even at diagnosis.
Palliative care never aims to hasten death or to delay it, so, they are fundamentally different. Any decisions about suffering are extremely difficult. I know because I’ve been there.
It happened with my husband Mark and me. We were both only 23. We’d only been married 6 months and Mark was just starting his career with the Navy. Then suddenly he got sick. We were literally planning a camping trip to the mountains one day and he was in hospital the next, having full body radiation for leukaemia. And we were thrown straight into that world of difficult decisions, one after another, that affected each of us until he died 11 months later.
This was back in the 80s and treatment was different then. It was far less sophisticated. Mark was one of the lucky ones - he was able to be at home right up until he died.
This is not what happens in an Intensive Care Unit or even in a busy hospital ward where you might have a rube in your throat and be unable to speak, or lines in your arm so people can’t get up on the bed and be close to you, or even touch you.
Why is it important to have a palliative care plan in place as soon as possible, regardless of your age or health?
Warren, Advance Care Directives, or Advance Care Plans are for everyone, regardless of age or health.
Last year, in June the Productivity Commission released a report that was pretty damning about the state of our end-of-life care. They reported that even though 70% of Australians want to die at home, or at least in a hospice in fact only 14% do. The resultant recommendation was for people to have an Advance Care Plan so services that are available can be matched to your preferences.
Advance Care Plans are shared and communicated properly with the people who need to know and understand your wishes. It is your intelligent exit strategy and it helps make a painful situation easier to navigate for your loved ones. An important part of your Advance Care Plan should include what treatments you refuse. If you haven’t included this, go to advancelifecare.com to find out more about treatments you can refuse.
Even though we are all heading to the same destination, it’s the journey of how we get there that we can have some control over. Control of our own life, on our terms, with dignity.
What is stopping terminally ill people from ending their lives comfortably and with dignity?
A very important factor to consider is making sure we have our own affairs in order.
Having an Advance Life Care plan and advocating Advance Life Care plans for those we love is the most important step we can take in ensuring the end of our lives and lived comfortably and with dignity.
How can we make sure our end of life wishes are respected?
We can make sure our end of life wishes are respected by talking early and talking often - to your family, your parents, your children, and your GP.
With a FREE and simple questionnaire, the Advance Care Plan is generated in around 15 minutes. It can be shared with family members and medical professionals, ensuring your last wishes are respected. Advance Life Care can be used in accordance with legal requirements in your state or country. It is absolutely free.
Go to www.advancelifecare.com for more information.