A Good Death
Fort Hays University
SOC355 Sociology Of Death and Dying
April 27, 2014
This paper will explore what would entail “A good Death”. I will discuss Pain Control, No Excessive Treatment, Retention Of Decision Making By The Patient, Support For The Dying Patient And His/Her Family And Friends, Communication Among All Parties And Acts Done Out Of Love That Make Dying More Difficult. I will make references from The Last Dance: Encountering Death and Dying, 9th Edition by DeSpelder, Lynn Ann; Strickland and Albert Lee and the “On Your Own” PBS series narrated by Bill Moyer.
Keywords: death, dying, palliative, hospice. pain management
A Good Death
“Everyone knows they’re going to die but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.”
A good death is dying surrounded by loving family and friends, free of pain, suffering and worries, a death where the dying has had great support from caretakers and family leading up to his final day. A good death is when there is no confusion of decision-making and will and when the dying, their family and caregivers are all on the same page. A goon death is when the last decisions come from love and not necessity and where all parties; the dying, the family and the care takers feel at ease and all decisions where well made.
A death free of pain is a large part of constructing “a good death”. As death is commonly physically painful, ways of controlling pain are a very important factor. When a person decides to stop their treatment of a terminal illness or may still be in the process of trying to treat a terminal decease, pain control is essential to make the patient have any kind of good quality of life. Pain control is an essential factor in hospice and palliative care. “For hospice and palliative care. The goal of medication is to restore or sustain a sense of equanimity and personal integrity despite the disturbances caused by the illness. The main aim is to control pain and other physical distress”. Dr. Meier at the Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute Mt Sinai explains in “On Your Own” the PBS series narrated by Bill Moyer that “ People that are in pain are exhausted, depressed and are not sleeping well and then taking pain medication does not mean they are giving up their fight against their disease”. In the series an old woman named Mrs. Fort is featured. Mrs. Ford has Alzheimer’s decease and is dying. Her palliative care team that includes a Dr. Carter is helping her with Fentanyl patches to relieve her pain. Fentanyl patches are a new helpful way to distribute pain medication evenly for a long period of time. Mrs. Fords daughter is explaining that “when mother is in pain, I am in pain” and emphasizes how important her mother’s pain management helps not only her mother, but their entire family. “What would be a good death?” Bill Moyer asked a patient. “A pain free death” he answers.
No excessive treatment
When is the right time to make the decision to stop treating a terminal illness? At what point will the dying and their family come to terms with the illness being terminal and decide to face death and stop treatment? A decision to say no to excessive treatment is usually a hard decision for the dying and their family. It is hard to give up hope on life and difficult to come to peace with the fact that the patient is actually dying and that there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. Stopping treatment is a great decision that patient; family and treatment team should make together and has to be done with great care. Excessive treatment might extent the life of the patient, but to a cost that might be devastating. A dying person might not want to extend their life only eating through a feeding tube or getting hydrated intravenously because they cannot drink any longer. A...
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