Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Quand la vie tutoie la mort

Heavenly haven for terminally sick

Posted on March 17, 2010

Are you afraid of regular hospitals? You should be. 

These centers of health care where a patient is a corps to be operated upon and dispatched quickly to make room for other patients.

Palliative health care facilities are the opposite of regular hospitals for the terminally ill: the patient is the center of attention; pain and suffering is the target of treatments. The goal is the dignity of the patient to die as comfortably as feasible.

Palliative facilities welcome the brave incurable patient who opted for stopgap measures on relentless treatments and experimentation of protocols: he decided to take charge of his destiny and dying peacefully.

Usually, palliative facilities are associated with mobile network of medical groups managing terminally ill person in their residences.

These kinds of network medical care units are constituted of representatives of physicians, nurses, psychologists, and administrators working as a group to catering for the well being of the patient who decided to spend most of his dying days at home.

The team notes down the patient’s needs and wishes, tends to the financial, clinical, health insurance, psychological, and social demands and regulations related to the patient; and it can be contacted 24 hours 7 days a week for feedback and critical moments.

The first meeting is done in the presence of the treating or family physician that must agree with the team and also be part of the association. They cooperate for the kinds of treatments, medicines, approaches, and methods.  

The mobile team does not deliver medical care but coordinate with health insurance, the appropriate specialized physicians, nurses, and pharmacies ready to rush on call for emergency needs of the patient.  

The patient is the center of the activities in the team system; the patient can stay at home as long as his health conditions permit.

For example, when the person is in terrible pain then the wife or a member of the family can call at 2 am, say what was given to the patient so far, and the mobile team would give the proper feedback of what to do next or just pay an emergency visit.

In periods of relative calm, when the patient is feeling fine then the team would call or just pay a visit: the team is like this brick wall patients and family members can lean on.  Mobile teams charge double a visiting physician but they take the time by the patient and meet with him to synthesize and evaluate the progress of the illness. 

This mobile system save a lot to health care institutions and State health budget since the patient is taken care of in his home.  I think these mobile palliative teams are suited to gather the most complete relevant data in a timely manner for the progress of an illness for health researchers.

Hospitals dedicated to palliative health services are very different from regular hospitals. These specialized hospitals are concerned with the terrible pain and suffering of a terminally ill patient; they tend to his physical, emotional, and mental requirements as the patient gradually feels dispossessed of life belonging, control, and management of others.  

The patient comes to these centers because he decided to stop treatments for his ill and just wish to be relieved of the pain, suffering, and indignity.

As you enter a palliative facility you hear “Here we take charge of your suffering. Suffering less is feasible”

There are no limiting visiting hours; you may bring kids and even pet animals to visit the patient; a private kitchen is completely equipped for family cooking or heating of plates; there are furnished spaces for an entire family to feel comfortably at home.  

Family members and friends can sleep over. Patients are allowed to redecorate their rooms with pictures, paintings, and special furniture.

Patients can go outside in their rolling chairs and wander in the park, watching farm animals in total liberty, or taking naps in the sun. Medical personnel do not wake up a patient to eat, but wait and reheat plates. Quality of life in the last days of a patient is the name of the game.

In “Intimate death”, Marie de Hennezel writes “I learned three things from life:

First, I will not avoid my death or any member of my family;

Second, man is not reduced to what we think we are seeing: he is far larger, far deeper than our judgments; and

Third, man has not said his last word yet: he is capable of transforming to a mighty person throughout a series of crisis and life’s trials”

France passed the Leonetti Law in 2005 which says:

First, relentless therapy is illegal;

Second, patient has the right to refuse treatment, including forced artificial feeding;

Third, physician must use all of what is available to reduce pain and suffering of the patient; and

Fourth, patient has the right to write his final wills as anticipatory directives and to designate the person in charge of respecting and enforcing the final directives.

Note: I got aware of this topic from the book of Sylvie Garoche in “Quand la vie tutoie la mort”




February 2023

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