Monday, November 9, 2009

More Palliative Information Becoming Available.

One trend that I have noticed since the summer's hoopla over "death panels" and euthanasia, is an effort by Palliative care organizations and medical units to educate the public on what it is they do and who needs their services.

Extreme conservatives in the US have in the past been critical of palliative and hospice care, confusing their mission to provide comfort at the end of life with "giving up" on a patient. At the other end of the spectrum is concern that some hospice facilities oppose patient choice at the end of life because of their Catholic origins and continued religious affiliations.

Efforts to bring more information to the public, in part to dispel the untruths bandied about this summer (and beyond by the likes of Sarah Palin) is a welcome sign that at least dialogue has begun. Palliative and hospice organizations have little funding or resources. They are staffed by half of volunteers. Any outreach they conduct will be local and grassroots - even when supported by large medical universities such as the one linked above - but they are greatly necessary.

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