I think the biggest problem is that in our society we have stopped believing that death is a natural part of life. Families are loathe to admit their loved ones may be dying or that they may actually be doing the right thing in allowing them to go versus fighting it with all they've got
. Don't a lot of the newer facilities advocate "survivors" and telling people how much longer they might have if they go w/so-and-so's facility? We live in a world where dying is not acceptable and therefore dying with dignity is virtually unheard of and unacceptable.
The new norm is to fight death no matter that you are terminal, miserable, and just ready to go. We as healthcare providers can advocate for the patients and their families, we can advocate for what is best for the patient when all their bodies' resources have been exhausted, and we can point fingers at the hospitals/EDs/LTCs until we are blue in the face.
Until we as a society can become more accepting of our limitations and the fact that sometimes we just need to let go of our loved ones, nothing will ever change. Fighting each other and throwing blame does not help. We are all in it for the patient and we all care what happens to them.
Unfortunately, we cannot always make families/doctors/patients see what is all too plain to us/docs/etc. as healthcare providers. All we can do is the best we can do with the resources given and with what we are allowed to do/not do by those we care for and their families.
And yes...I have had to (against my better judgment
) send patients to the ER from the LTC AND
patients back to LTC from the hospital.
As long as, at the end of the day I can say that I did my best for the patient, sometimes that has to be enough.:redpinkhe