The national trend that has led most healthcare providers to opt for ‘aggressive treatment’ on patients facing End-of-Life is starting to change.
The LA Times reports a coalition of LA-area healthcare providers has implemented groundbreaking new guidelines to help patients take control over their final days.
The broad-based effort is unlike anything seen before in the state.
The new guidelines calls on doctors to clearly explain when a medical treatment under consideration, “may deprive the person of life closure, the ability to say ‘forgive me,’ ‘I love you’ or ‘goodbye,’ or preclude a peaceful death.”
The LA hospitals will now urge doctors and nurses to help patients specify their End-of-Life wishes through advance-care planning, and help them seek palliative care if a patient wants it.
In the past, what happened all too often was, “patients who had not expressed their EOL plans arrived at the hospital already incapacitated and an autopilot scenario unfolded, in which patients received a level of care that they may never have wanted.” said James Leo, an intensive care specialist. “This can sentence a patient to spending the rest of their days on machine support in the intensive care unit and not in a supportive environment where they can be with their families.”
The biggest reason behind the sweeping change is, “We’ve seen a lot of harm at the End-of-Life,” said endocrinologist Glenn Braunstein, vice president of clinical innovation at Cedars-Sinai and a leader of the guideline effort. “We said, ‘We have to fix this.’”
“To see these health systems own this is extremely exciting to me,” said Kate O’Malley, a researcher who studies End-of-Life care at the California HealthCare Foundation in Oakland.
Read the story here.