A good primer on the difference between hospice and palliative care. What struck my attention was the remark below about how some physicians still advocate treatment to the end, no matter how hopeless and no matter how harsh the side effects. Reminds one of the importance of having discussed one’s wishes with those closest to us and having an advance directive to ensure no ambiguity. Quote:
Bitter disagreements about end of life care come not only from family members but also from providers. About 15 years ago, when I was with the National Institute on Aging, I had a discussion with an oncologist who represented a professional society. He argued that there should be no limit on chemotherapy, up to the point of death. We discussed a new therapy that would add one month of life expectancy to a geriatric patient. His position was that regardless of the intense side effects it caused, it should be prescribed and encouraged. My position was it should be discussed with the patient, and if it is declined, that decision should be respected. Now years later, that controversy persists, not just among oncologists. Terminal care is also provided by pulmonologists, cardiologists, and generalists, for example, some of whom advocate intensive care to the end, while others respect the patient’s request for limited care.