Monday, March 1, 2010

Thats totally it!

In Suffering and Death this morning we had a guest speaker. A woman who cares for the dying and their families. For the most part her talk was mildly informative. She was a bit far out of nursing school to remember how much we have been educated up to this point and so her bit on opiate tolerance and its effects was redundant and unnecessary. Other portions of the speech did lend some insight into how to assist the bereaved and the dying.

A few things bothered me.

When requested by the family not to discuss hospice or death with the dying client she said she adhered to the families wishes. I understand following family wishes, but when there is a live patient they have the right to be fully informed about their options no matter how far in denial they may be. Not informing them seems like a lie of omission and something I hope I do not do when I practice.

The speaker stated that she would sometimes hear clients tell her that there were seeing and/or interacting with people who had died previously in their lives. She said she "Chalked it up to the sacred" and would let them live with their delusions. Yes, the sacred, of course thats it. It certainly is a better explanation than a stressed and dying brain misfiring with an intense experience. The exception, she noted after being questioned, was that if the hallucination was agitating the client they would be medicated. So hallucinations that are uncomfortable for them should be medicated, but pleasant ones should be allowed to proceed? That idea taken ad absurdium would lead to all sorts of odd situations such as medicating every believer in an eternal hell that has atheist friends should it make them uncomfortable. Upon questioning she relented that indeed, they could be hallucinations but that she (paraphrasing) "liked to think that they're experiencing something sacred, seeing into the next world"

She was a compassionate and kind person from all that she said, but it does irk me that she seems to have a double standard when it comes to disorientation to reality and her private fantasy of another world.

No comments:

Post a Comment