Susan Brink

Bunny’s Last Days: When Living Will Isn’t Enough

KHN Original

In the era of modern medicine, there is often no easy way to navigate between an acceptable quality of life and a death with dignity. But palliative care specialists, relatively new players on the health care scene, offer comfort, support, pain control and, if requested, spiritual counsel, helping people sort through often confusing and ambiguous medical options.

Living Wills Often Ignored

KHN Original

Living wills and advance directives were the hope for end-of-life decision-making decades ago. But a 2004 survey by FindLaw found that 36 percent of Americans have a living will, and even when people have filled out living wills, doctors often ignore them.

Hospice, Palliative Care Aim To Ease Suffering

KHN Original

Palliative services are designed to help patients and their families sort through their options – ome of which may help restore the patient, while others may increase suffering for a minimal health benefit.

Living In A ‘Medical Home’

KHN Original

Several states are implementing “medical home” programs, which shifts the health care system from emphasizing acute care for emergencies, such as heart attacks and strokes, to one focusing more on treating – or preventing – chronic illnesses.