“Create time, space and relief from suffering in order to let patients complete the symphonies of their lives.”
Accompanying rather than assisting death
Palliative care creates time and space for the symphony of a person’s life to reach completion.
It is altogether normal and understandable that someone experiencing a terminal or incurable illness should sometimes lose the will to live, or find his situation without meaning. In this doubting the way to an assisted suicide organisation often appears to be the only help for patients, in part because until recently in many medical institutions death was a taboo topic, seldom discussed. In this regard, assisted suicide organisations prompt us to look more closely at this theme. We need possibilities to create, so that the last stage of life can be experienced with dignity.
With the development of palliative care – both ambulant and stationary – the dying person can be offered care based on his individual needs. Obviously, with the very seriously ill it is a difficult to find a way together, where things seem impossible.
Sometimes the situation can be ameliorated by clearly ‘naming’ the concerns people have. Often the problem is fear of pain, or fear of death per se; but also fear of loss of control or of surrendering to hospital doctors. For many it is a help to know that for most illnesses one can be treated at home until the end; for others it is important not to be left alone when experiencing the pain of breathing difficulties; yet others that life-prolonging therapies are not persisted with.
Naturally, it is not always possible to find satisfactory solutions. However, time and again one experiences that people have a quite new experience, for example, or that a difficult human relationship situation becomes resolved. Often the patients realise that this phase of life has a meaning and are very grateful that they did not end their life prematurely because of doubt. One cannot put it better than the Australian palliative doctor, Norelle Lickis: “Create time, space and relief from suffering in order to let patients complete the symphonies of their lives.” This is what palliative care does – it creates time and space for the symphony of a person’s life to reach completion.
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