5 Action Steps to Improve End-of-Life Care in Your Community
While we may not be able to singlehandedly transform the death industry
in our country, each one of us can do something in our lives and our own
communities to make a difference. We just have to be creative and strongly
motivated to implement change.
In a recent
interview, Dr. Ira Byock, palliative care physician and author of
Dying Well, stated:
"This is really the most important issue we face -- this is what it
means to be human ... At the moment in which we are holding the torch
for civilization, in a sense, we have to say it matters how we care for
people at the end-of-life."
If you are concerned at all about your own end-of-life or how your parents
and your children will be cared for when they die, you understand the
urgency behind Dr. Byock's words. We need to transform the way people
die in our country and we need to begin that process now.
Our current abysmal
statistics in end-of-life care (70 percent of Americans say they would prefer to
die at home, but only 25 percent actually do) are the result of multi-layered
issues that are societal, cultural, medical, economical, financial, and
political in nature. So how can we make a difference? How can we even
begin to change such a vast and complex system?