dignified death

  1. My school have assigned me a project about "dignified death"........what is it and where can I start, thanks............
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    About yatyu

    Joined: Oct '06; Posts: 71; Likes: 1

    7 Comments

  3. by   S.T.A.C.E.Y
    Just some guesses here, things I would want if nothing more could help:
    - Deciding how the end will come on my terms
    - Having my wishes respected
    - Dying at home
    - In my own clothes, not a hospital gown
    - Family at my side
    - No invasive tubes & lines
    - Adequate pain control
    - No visually traumatic stuff for my family to see (CPR, ET tube, foleys, vents, NG tubes, etc.)
  4. by   JentheRN05
    To me - just my opinion, not something I read anywhere.
    But dignified death is obviously 'death with dignity'
    To spell out what that means to me.....
    - I don't want to continue my life if I do not have complete function of my faculties - ALL of them - waterworks/mind and everything between.
    - I want to be allowed to die as it naturally would happen.
    - Not bringing in any unrequired methods to continue my life beyond natural means, especially if I am not able to make my own decisions with no chance of regaining my quality of life.

    Really pretty much what it boils down to is quality of life and what you make of it. What you believe is your quality of life really defines how one would die with dignity.

    If my quality of life is declining, why would I want to live?
    Would I want to live knowing someone is changing a diaper on me? Is that 'dignified'?
    Would I want to live if I was being extremely mean, and aggressive to the ones I love, because I did not have my mind intact? If I couldn't love and be loved? Of course not.
    Would I want to live if I can't recognize my own children or husband?
    Would I want to live if I cannot feed myself or give myself a drink?

    It all boils down to what you consider an acceptable quality of life. I would not want to live with any of the above. My husband knows my wishes. In fact, with a strong family history of alzheimers I have told him that if I EVER get to the point where I'm mean or I wet myself, or I can't remember my children (especially this one - or him) Then he is to PUT me out of my misery. Overdose me with as many meds as he can. Simple as that. It would be hard pressed to be proven that I didn't accidentally do it myself, and my family all know my wishes.

    Keep in mind, I'm 35, so i hopefully have quite a while. I do plan to get a living will, and am ashamed to say I don't have one yet, especially for as strongly as I feel about this. But I will have one.

    Hope this helps
  5. by   Daytonite
    to have dignity means to have worth or merit. it means to have the same value, esteem and importance. people lose dignity in certain situations. when a person is accused or found guilty or known to do something that is very wrong in the eyes of society then they are said to lose dignity. a good example of loss of dignity is when a student is held in great esteem for being very knowledgeable and smart and then is caught cheating. it's a shameful situation where the student looses dignity with fellow students. this should not be a concept that is unknown to you, yatyu, as asians, particularly the chinese, have a great sense of maintaining their dignity.

    when someone gets ill, particularly with a terminal illness such as cancer, one of the many thoughts that goes through the patient's mind is that of how others are going to perceive them and their place in society. since i married into a family of chinese i know only so well what the effect of a diagnosis of a terminal illness has on the patient and the family. there is an overwhelming shame that comes upon the person. i've seen it happen several times in my family. the patient wants to isolate themself from everyone so as not to offend them. other members of the family and friends will shun or avoid seeing this person. the patient's self-esteem goes to it's lowest point.

    now, some who might be responsible for the care of a patient in that position might not feel that the sick person needs much of any help anymore. after all, they are doomed to die. i've heard of some stories where the patient was hidden away in a room from everyone. they just sort of disappeared to live out their last days in a situation that was totally different from the way their life once was.

    to give someone a dignified death, is to treat them with as much respect and honor as is possible. probably the biggest thing terminal patients face is the loss of their regular daily lives. if we can give that back to them, then we go a long way toward maintaining their dignity. so, many times i have heard patients, who have been told they are terminal, say they just want to die at home or be with their family. they want to be around the people and things that are the most important to them. to facilitate that for them is to help give them a dignified death.

    here in the united states we have hospices that help people accomplish just that. they help people maintain their self-esteem and dignity by getting them back into their homes and teaching their relatives what they can do to help care for the patient and keep them comfortable as they go through the process of dying. in the end, a person's body is often going to fail. people will sometimes lose control of some of their body functions and even their cognitive abilities. to give them a dignified death is to do for them what they are no longer able to do for themselves in order to maintain their self-esteem and value in their world. those are things like giving them as much privacy in the performing of their self-care, keeping them clean of incontinence, helping them to breathe if they are having breathing problems, keeping them free of pain, having friends over to visit, dressing the person in their favorite outfit or engaging them in a game they love to play. in general, you help them to adapt and function within their world while maintaining their self-esteem. you try to keep their daily life as normal as possible by making adaptations where necessary to accommodate the physical and mental failings. this, yatyu, is a concept that is at the very heart of the profession of nursing--helping people maintain their dignity--whether is be while they are in the process of dying or dealing with an illness.

    to answer your question of where to start. . .i would start by reading about hospice and hospice care. if any concept is devoted to the concept of dignified death, it is hospice.
  6. by   yatyu
    thanks all men!! you help me a lot!!!
  7. by   BSNtobe2009
    I pray, that one day that human euthanasia will be legal.

    I know it is done from time to time in hospitals and a very hush hush thing when a patient's pain becomes totally unmanageable and a consult with the ethics committee would take too long.

    My uncle had lung cancer, and he had 6 brothers and sisters. The entire family was there and my uncle reached a state where he was breathing enough to keep him alive, but he kept thinking he wasn't getting enough and had the sensation that he was smothering. He looked at the doctor, in tears, and said, "I can't stand this, you have to make it stop."

    He was given an overdose of Morphine, deliberately, and our family knew it but knew it was the only answer...my uncle was terminal. No lawsuits, no autopsy, no questions. It was as peaceful as an ending as you could get.

    I truly belive in dying with dignity.
  8. by   suzy253
    There's a very timely article on this subject in the November issue of Nursing 2006 that you should check out.
  9. by   yatyu
    Quote from suzy253
    There's a very timely article on this subject in the November issue of Nursing 2006 that you should check out.
    November issue of Nursing 2006 ?????? where should I check??

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