Sometimes, despite the best efforts of doctors and the determination of a patient, there's just nothing more to be done to fight against a terminal illness. As we heard yesterday on our death and dying in the 21st century series, palliative care can then offer medical, emotional and even spiritual support as treatment to cure a life-threatening illness transitions into quality-of-life management.
We continue our series on death and dying in the 21st century by turning our attention today to the growing field of palliative care. This kind of medicine actively cares for people with life-threatening and terminal diseases, working to effectively transition between treatments focused on a cure to managing symptoms in order to maximize quality of life and respect patient wishes.
As we've explored so far in our death and dying in the 21st century series, adults, frankly, don't like to talk about dying. So it comes as no surprise then that most adults avoid the topic of death with children - perhaps even going so far as to think kids don't know what death is.
It’s no secret that health care in this country costs a lot. That’s especially true at the end of life. A new study indicates a quarter of Medicare recipients exhaust their entire savings and more on out-of-pocket health care expenses during the last five years of their lives.
This goes along with previous numbers that have shown that the last few years of life are the most expensive, medically speaking.
This week on Lake Effect, producer Stephanie Lecci has been exploring issues surrounding death and dying. While death is as old as time itself, the study of it is considerably younger. The relatively new and growing field of thanatology - that is, the study of death, from the Greek word "thanatos" - extends beyond just the medical aspects to dying. Rather, it crosses boundaries through interdisciplinary fields. And as technologies in medicine and society advance, so does the research.