Saturday, September 24, 2011

Valuable information

This past week I attended my annual conference for work.  One of the topics was end of life care decisions.  Now this is a topic that comes up quite frequently in my work.  We are dealing with aging people and so you need to make that decision.  Often I try to be proactive and start the process before there is a crisis because then everyone already is aware of what the plan is.  I've learned more and more about what happens at the end of a persons life and how death occurs.  Some interesting stats for you to take in is that on average 90% of people wish to die at home; of this stat only 42% actually do.  Most people spend 80% of their life health dollars in the last 2 weeks of their life.  SO if in your life the health care you used was $100,000.  In the last 2 weeks you would have used up $80,000.  So why does this happen.  Well people don't want to die so they try to remain alive as long as possible even when the only sure result is death.  The doctor that was presenting putting it very well.  "we can't make you undead if you are going to die eventually".  It's a fact of life that everyone is going to die.  He acknowledged that the medical field does a very poor job of explaining what happens at the end of life so this has created a fallacy that you can be "healed" from death.  We all know that's not true though.  SO what has caused the biggest fallacy???  You probably are going to think I'm cracked when you read it but it is CPR!!  CPR was discovered in the 60's and it's intention was to be used when a healthy person went into cardiac or respiratory failure for unknown causes; ie, they had no other health issues at the time.  So what are the stats of CPR; oh and these are stats from Edmonton done in 97-2007.  If a healthy person with no other presenting health related issues has CPR performed the likelihood that they will resume normal life afterwards is 19%.  19%!!!!!  That's not how it is in the movies and on tv??????  That's right.  So what about the other people; well 12% will end up with some resulting health issues from the CPR being performed, this could be a trachea, brain damage, punctured lungs and fractured ribs are inevitable, and possibly other internal organ failures and damage.  Then of course there is the other group that ends up with so many resulting health issues that they end up living in a long term care facility.  And of course the last category, you end up dead.  So what if you are sick or terminal and you want CPR performed to save your life.  0% that you will return to your previous life.  Some may be resuscitated and live a few more hours but like said before if you are death's door there isn't any way of making you undead.  I wonder if people really realize this.  When discussing end of life with some people they want "everything" done.  However everything being done isn't going to cure you if you have a terminal illness or if you are just plain old and it is your time!  You won't go into cardiac arrest, die, have CPR done and revived and come back 63 when you are really 84!  So why would I post something as uncomfortable as this.  Because I think people should have the information.  This way they can discuss it with their loved ones and when the time comes everyone can feel comfortable that they are doing what you would want.  For me that is NO CPR!  I'm comfortable with dying; I know where I'm going to go and my affairs are all in order.  Now there is a difference though, do I want to die.  Nope, but I do know that one day the time will come and that day will be okay.  This is what the dr said most people struggle with.  They don't want to die and aren't ready and so therefore want the dr's to do "everything" to save them.  However the dr's aren't going to be able to make you ready to die and more comfortable with dying that is something each person has to do on there own.  So think about what I've written, talk to your doctor and your loved ones. 

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