Patient centred death
Jocalyn Clark argues that we need better and more innovative research on patients' views on dying
- By: Jocalyn Clark
A good death has always been important in all cultures. To achieve your chosen afterlife you died either well (euthanatos) or nobly (kalosthanein). But what is a good death in a world that for many is post-religious and medicalised? We know something from research on patients and their families-but not nearly enough. We need much better research that uses innovative and different methods.
We do not have good data on how people die (as opposed to what they die of), but there is a strong impression that many die badly.1 People do not die in the places they wish or with the peace they desire. Probably too many die alone, in pain, terrified, mentally unaware, without dignity, or feeling alienated. People who are poor, from ethnic minorities, or marginalised may have even worse deaths.
Modern dying leads to a struggle for control. Some doctors fear failure when they cannot keep