By Saara Mohammed
When you do a quick Google search of the words “end of life care”, the top result is not that Mayo Clinic link you’re used to seeing whenever you type some kind of medical-related phrase (though that is further down the list). It’s actually the HealthGuide.org, a website that offers to “help you resolve your health issues”. I started out with the most basic option in my inquiry into end of life care: googling it. HealthGuide.org, for example, gave a list of things that may indicate that a family member requires end of life care, and an explanation of a few of the terms I used in my introduction:
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization gave a comprehensive guide to everything from hospice information to pain and grief support, to financial planning and issues relating to work scheduling (NHPCO).
While the online system for support looks useful, there remains the fact that physicians are pointing out the gaping holes in the U.S. health care system’s handle on end of life care. Physicians’ roles are in focus in the recent discourse. Having shadowed a few physicians in Ann Arbor, specifically OB/GYNs, it seems hard to believe that these amazing professionals are in any way lacking in understanding their patients’ needs. The problem lies in the structures and roles different health professionals are playing, less than a physician’s ability to provide more palliative care.
Next week I will look at the effects of being a caregiver on the family member(s) involved, as well as the role of a Social Worker and an RN in end of life care.
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