Dr Merran Cooper, Medical doctor and the CEO of Touchstone Life Care, chats with Warren Moore about Palliative Care, Euthanasia and Advance Care Directives on Better Living. You can Also listen to this podcast here:

Summary of the discussion:

 

Palliative care has always been my passion. My mission is to help people express what action should be taken when their health deteriorates or they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. It’s an important topic, and becoming more and more important as we talk more about death and dying. We’re going to be speaking about these things more and more.

Difference Between Palliative Care and Terminal Care

When talking about palliative care people often only think about terminal care. Terminal care is medications to decrease pain or anxiety or other end of life symptoms at the end of life.

People trained in palliative care can assist to decrease all sorts of suffering including mental or spiritual suffering. Therefore it can be really helpful right from the beginning of a diagnosis, throughout treatment for a condition, and at the end of life.

Difference Between Palliative Care and Euthanasia

Euthanasia is also an attempt to limit people’s suffering. It aims to do this by intentionally ending a life. Palliative care will never aim to hasten or delay death, so in that way euthanasia can never be a part of palliative care.

How Advance Care Plans Can Help

Advance Care Plans are for everyone, regardless of your age or health. In 2017 the Australian Productivity Commission released a report that was pretty damning of the state of our end of life care – less than 15% of Australia have an Advance Care Plans. That means that more things are likely to go wrong at the end of our life. 70% Australians want to die at home or in a hospice, but less than 14% do. They recommend having an Advance Care Plan so that the services that are available are matched to your desires.

Each of us need a plan that is thought about, and is shared with your GP, and your family. One really important part of an Advance Care Plan is to include the treatments that you don’t want to have. That can be very powerful so you can keep control of your own journey.

We’re all going in the same direction, it’s just the way we get there is what’s different. It takes a lot of pressure off the family. When people do their plans on our system, they report back that they’re doing it for their family as much as themselves.