Western University may open an institute meant to foster cross-disciplinary innovation in the field of palliative care. If fully realized, it could transform health care in southwestern Ontario. Now, let's go even farther.
Dr. Ramona Mahtani has led an effort to integrate palliative care into siloed medical specializations throughout the pandemic. In doing so, she has put forward a bold, boundary-pushing vision of what palliative care can be.
In hospice settings, nurses wet the mouths of patients as they take their last breaths. Sometimes, they simply sit with them so that no one dies alone. As a physician, I could not do my job without them.
By using tools that identify which patients have an elevated risk of mortality in the coming year, we can catch patients who would benefit from palliative care planning before they fall through the cracks.
Changing the name of palliative care to "supportive care" would be a lazy substitute for the important work of educating patients, families, caregivers and clinicians alike on what palliative care actually is.
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