Author Topic: Amazing NYTimes Mag article -changing end of life care, attitudes re death  (Read 445 times)


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Apologies if it has been posted elsewhere, but this is a brilliantly written article about end of life care, with many ideas that may resonate as they echo conversations we have had in some places on these boards. My favourite sections discussed the notions of suffering and how, while we might want death/the act of dying to be a transcendent beautiful experience, the right kind of hospice and approach to palliative care acknowledges that actually just providing a relatively "ordinary" environment and even final days for the patient might be enough.  Here's the quote for the latter: 

"’s about wresting death from the one-size-fits-all approach of hospitals, but it’s also about puncturing a competing impulse, the one I was scuffling with now: our need for death to be a hypertranscendent experience. “Most people aren’t having these transformative deathbed moments,” Miller said. “And if you hold that out as a goal, they’re just going to feel like they’re failing.” The truth was, Zen Hospice had done something almost miraculous: It had allowed Sloan and those who loved him to live a succession of relatively ordinary, relatively satisfying present moments together, until Sloan’s share of present moments ran out."

This resonated a lot with me as my DH never accepted his death, did not wish to go into hospice for that reason, and died at home just wishing to forget he was dying at all.  He desired the ordinary.


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  • aka MissingmyTim
Thank you so much for sharing.
I have both personal and professional experiences with Hospice and end of life situations.  Both my Dad and my DH were on Hospice at home (5 years apart) and I was both of them for every minute of their last days.  As a PT I was involved with Hospice cases and also nursing home end of life situations.  In my experience the best thing to do is to follow the lead of the person who is dying.  My Dad and my husband were so very different in what they wanted and needed and we honored each of them the best we could.  The one common thing was my Dad wanted my mom and I by his side for his final breaths and my DH wanted me.  Dad never admitted he was dying and never had any profound talks with my mom or any practical ones for that matter.  DH on the other hand had every family member and friend visit in his final days and left nothing unsaid.  With me he covered the profound and the practical to the point I wanted to stick my fingers in my ears because it was so emotional and so final.  I have had patients who hang in by a thread until their family member arrives from afar to say good bye and I've had others who hang on while family sits the death vigil for 24 straight hours only to die as soon as they leave to spare them from seeing those final breaths.

As heart breaking as it is for me to relive those final days with DH I am so grateful for them because he was in control as much as he could be and that was a gift I could give him. 
You will forever be my always.