Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Health Care: What Did They Mean?

In a New York Times Op-Ed column by Richard Dooling; http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/17/opinion/17dooling.html, it was pointed out that there is a large amount of money spent on senior care. This includes housing, not so bad, and goes all the way to major medical interventions with small degrees of success, given the individual's age. Success being that the individual leaves the hospital. The thought he put out was that we should spend more, or shift our spending from advanced health care for seniors, who may not survive the procedures to 'prolong their lives' to the other end of the spectrum, obstetricians and pediatricians. An idea worht concideration.

Now that was put down crudely but when I heard an interview by the author, I found myself in agreement with the concept. Maybe we could prepare better for the end of our lives. When we get older and slower, and need more attention, about that time maybe we should think about whether we want to be kept alive at all costs, or go easily. What would our quality of life be like? At all costs hooked up to all sorts of machines for who knows how long? With an outcome of...?

For a long time, I thought I wanted to live as long as I could. So I try to take care of myself as best I can. Stay fit, eat healthy etc. But lately I've been thinking about how do I want to die. How much effort should be expended to keep me going? I'm thinking of how to have this discussion with my family. Do I even know what I want? This may take some time, but I believe it will be for the best.

I guess the point of the Op-Ed column is that maybe we should concider the possiblity that letter our elderly family relative pass on when medical intervention is no longer productive. This of course should be discussed with all pertenant family members, and the topic is very subjective and not all solutions are for everybody. I don't know that I've expressed myself as best I could, so I would ask that you take this entry with a wide view so to speak.

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