The traditional way to communicate one’s wishes is through an advance directive, and a growing number of Americans have...Read more
Book Review: A Doctor's Prescription for Better End-of-Life Care
- September 28th, 2012
Ira Byock, M.D. The Best Care Possible: A Physician's Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life. Penguin Group, New York, N.Y. 2012. 320 pages.
$15.11 on Amazon. Click here to purchase.
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
Ron M. Landsman, P.A.
Ron M. Landsman has been practicing elder law since 1983, before it was known as elder law, originally with Landsman and Laster, Washington, D.C., then Landsman, Eakes and Laster, also in Arlington, VA, and since 1990 in his own practice in Montgomery County, Maryland. He has been among the most active members of the...
Margaret A. O'Reilly, PC
Margaret A. O’Reilly is an estate planning and elder law attorney with over thirty-five years of legal experience. Attorney O’Reilly graduated from Duke University with a degree in psychology, and received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. For over 15 y...
Law Offices of John L. Laster
John Laster is a lawyer licensed to practice in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. He limits his practice to wealth transfer planning, trusts, wills, powers of attorney, health care decision-making issues, estate administration and related tax, elder law and disability concerns. Listed in The Best Lawyers...
Advances in medicine are allowing Americans to live longer than ever, but this brings with it increased medical problems at the end of life, meaning people are sicker than ever before they die. The Best Care Possible argues that we aren't doing a good job of helping people with the burden of living longer, and that this is becoming nothing short of a national crisis.
Author Ira Byock, the director of palliative medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, says that Americans make dying a lot harder than it has to be. People spend their last days in hospitals or nursing homes with poorly controlled pain and feeling like a burden to their families. Byock says a better alternative to the "fight disease and illness at all costs" approach is consistent and compassionate palliative care for the seriously ill.
A master storyteller, Byock uses narratives of his patients who have been diagnosed with serious illness to demonstrate how palliative care can provide people with a better quality of life for longer. He explains that palliative care means looking at the whole person, not just the immediate medical problem, and such care, he maintains, is not just for the immediately dying, but can provide comfort during all serious illnesses. Byock believes not just in patient-centered care but family centered care as well. This means better support for caregivers as well as more alternative housing arrangements for seniors, like senior communities where residents watch out for each other.
But to make any of this possible, Byock says we must end our cultural antipathy to confronting mortality. With touching stories and compassion, he makes a compelling argument for changing the way end-of-life care is provided in the United States.
Last Modified: 09/28/2012