Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Improving the experience of dying

In their February editorial, the PLoS Medicine Editors reflect on recent research by Olav Lindqvist and colleagues which describes nonpharmacological palliative care for cancer patients in the last days of life. The qualitative study found that the approaches used by palliative care staff were multifaceted, with physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and existential care interwoven in caregiving activities. The Editors comment: "[Lindqvist and colleagues' findings] reveal the complex and sometimes subtle caregiving approaches that palliative care staff take to improve the experience of dying for both patient and family…Research such as this not only provides hope that it is possible to have a good quality of death but also suggests that through research the experience of dying can be improved."