Researchers at the University of NSW are calling “for restraint on the use of aggressive life-saving treatments for frail elderly patients at the end of their lives, saying the focus should instead be placed on making patients’ last days comfortable and dignified.”
This is not the first time such calls have been made along these lines. Professor Ken Hillman has been advocating for a more patient centred approach for years.
A/Professor Cardona said that hospitals and emergency staff were offering invasive treatment when a close look at the patient’s history would suggest a gentler approach could be more appropriate.
She said these often-costly and aggressive treatments bring about unnecessary suffering for patients by admitting them to the ICU, and questioned the benefit to the patients, their families and the health system.
Half of the deaths in the study occurred within two days of the medical emergency call, while all patients with a not-for-resuscitation order died within thre months. A/Professor Cardona said this suggests the prognoses of the patients would have been somewhat predictable.
“Our findings strongly indicate that admission to the ICU and invasive procedures for elderly people dying of natural causes need reconsideration,” A/Professor Cardona said.
“When death is inevitable, other more appropriate pathways of care can be offered such as symptom control, pain relief and psychosocial support.”
For the full story: Call for restraints on end-of-life treatments