I started my blog to write about the realities of being old, and with the hope of breaking down some misconceptions and taboos. I know that I am writing rather a lot under this label at present, but but it's been a tough year for me in this respect. And there are certainly other people out there who are prepared to look at what lies ahead, and consider what arrangements, if any, they can make for the end of their life. I hope that the rest of you will forgive me, and move on to another post.
An earlier post reminded me of something I found on the web a while ago - ( I think it originated in the British Medical Journal) - which gives one a framework for thinking about this. And I believe that there is a move in the NHS for hospitals to develop their own protocols and care pathways for the terminally ill along the lines of these principles. I am trying to find out more on the web.
Principles of a good death
- To know when death is coming, and to understand what can be expected
- To be able to retain control of what happens
- To be afforded dignity and privacy
- To have control over pain relief and other symptom control
- To have choice and control over where death occurs (at home or elsewhere)
- To have access to information and expertise of whatever kind is necessary
- To have access to hospice care in any location, not only in hospital
- To have control over who is present and who shares the end
- To be able to issue advance directives which ensure wishes are respected
- To have time to say goodbye, and control over other aspects of timing
- To be able to leave when it is time to go, and not to have life prolonged pointlessly