Hospice Care and Oncology Patients

Why do doctors have such difficulties adopting hospice care and using it to benefit sufferers, particularly oncology patients? The Dartmouth Atlas Project recently revealed that the amount of melanoma sufferers who are passed on to a hospice program in the last 3 days of life increased by 31% from 2003 to 2007. The total share of melanoma sufferers even getting hospice care was only about 61%. David Goodman, co-principal investigator for Dartmouth Atlas said more sufferers are being admitted to hospice care in the last 3 days of life “when it’s too late to offer much comfort” and that “many sufferers are getting more competitive in-patient care and less effective hospice care.”

Holding Hands with Elderly PatientThere are many wonderful oncologists who take pleasure in looking after for their sufferers until the very end. But there are growing concerns with the doctors who do not utilize hospice care properly and once they do refer the individual, they don’t want to be involved with the care anymore. For example, the Dartmouth Atlas study mentioned the unsuitable use of feeding pipes in dying sufferers. We are all aware, or should be, that feeding pipes do not make dying melanoma sufferers live a longer time, cure injuries, put on weight, or reduce aspiration. They more likely cause aspiration, diarrhea and feeling sick. But family members and doctors continue to force PEG pipes on sufferers without asking them their desires and without full disclosure of the threats and lack of advantages.

It is a natural procedure to quit taking in nutritional value that can no more offer the advantages they did in a recuperative state. Offer food without pressure and never make the individual feel accountable for not eating. It can be challenging for family members to watch as a loved one stops eating and in our community, they often expect the individual to pass away very quickly when they don’t eat or drink. Patients can be kept completely comfortable, but for families, it is a difficult vigil.

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