Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Training Doctors to Help Families Come to Terms with End-of-Life Decisions

Windsor, ON-  A new training program for doctors is generating interest amongst practitioners of palliative medicine, in the hopes that it will signal a change in how both society and doctors, deal with death. The program (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/teaching-doctors-a-new-approach-to-the-end-of-life-process/article4416607/), is designed to change how the medical community approaches end-of-life decisions. And it’s a step that palliative medicine expert, Dr. Gordon Giddings, hopes represents a real desire within the medical community to reorient its views on palliative care.

As the director of UWO’s Palliative Medicine Residency Program, Giddings has dedicated his time and efforts to easing the pain and suffering of patients during what is likely the most difficult time of their lives. He recently penned a book, Dying in the Land of Enchantment: A Doctor’s Journey, describing his intense personal and professional journey to help change both his own practice, and how he instructs future doctors.

The challenge of getting families and patients to understand the core philosophy of palliative care, is one faced frequently by Giddings.

“Death is part and parcel of our culture; we engender such incredible fear in people about death that it becomes almost impossible for people to talk about. It’s absolutely natural to experience grief and trepidation when it comes to losing someone we love, but that’s why it’s so very critical that we in the medical profession—who have a duty to act in the patient’s interest—need to take active steps towards easing the transition from acute care to the palliative setting. Many people do not realize this, but palliative care is actually more about living and living well than it is about dying.”

Giddings hopes his work will help further discussions on end-of-life care and advance social dialogues on death and dying so that doctors and families are truly able to make decisions that improve the quality of life for those who are facing a life-threatening diagnosis.

For more information on Dr. Giddings and his book visit http://gordongiddings.wordpress.com/


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