Paul C. Edwards

Yes to both. My presence at the consults does explore a bit more what was perceived when the assessments were done. However, most of the times I am sitting in on consults I am helping the conversation along, and bringing a spiritual dimension to the discussion. The stage is set (I loved that presentation this week) based on the awareness of issues reported regarding family members who are either opposed to following the will of their loved one or due to unrealistic and unreasonable demands that “everything be done”, when there is nothing else left to be done, short of what amounts to carrying out a pointless and agonizing treatment plan.

My presence and participation helps to reframe the discussion and tease out the spiritual themes relative to the patient’s/family’s particular frame of reference. I am amazed at how many religious individuals, (folks with formal religious practices), have rigidly false notions of death and are unprepared to face death when we know it is coming. It is as natural as being born, but I find many will resist palliative or hospice interventions because they simply do not want to accept that there comes a time when we will all go.

I once heard a joke that goes something like this: – “Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die.” Placed in the right context, that pretty much sums up how I experience some of our consults. My contribution to the gathering, during those family meetings, is to help folks embrace the notion that dying is okay; making preparations for a good departure, through palliative means, until one dies, is okay. It is not something to be shunned or something we ought to fear/resist.