Hi all, great article in the LA Times. I printed a few paragraphs but the link to the full article is below. Below sums up what most of us in the Palliative Care field already know. When patients are told the truth and able to have a frank discussion about their disease and prognosis, even though it stings at first, they are then able to take care of business which can be financial as well as social. The patient in this article was able to reconnect with 2 sons he hadn’t spoken to in 12 years. I hope more physicians realize the importance of these discussions for their patients.
“Our family’s end-of-life discussion was excruciating. At first, Dad didn’t want to admit he was dying because he was fighting the cancer as hard as he could. He had withstood three grueling weeks of radiation so he could get better, but it wasn’t working.
Verbalizing it — acknowledging out loud that he was dying — was the hardest thing for our family to do. Dad’s physician helped us discuss the hospice option with him. The doctor came to Dad’s room and told him, man to man, that guys in his condition were considered terminal. The doctor told him in the way Dad liked to get information: straight up, with little show of emotion.
What families don’t know is that once this fact is discussed and accepted, everyone can move on. All the pretense of trying to get better is gone. We helped Dad get his earthly affairs in order. Two of my siblings hadn’t spoken to Dad for 12 years. When they found out he was in hospice, they came to see him. They wouldn’t have been able to do that if he had continued the radiation and died in the hospital.”