Stopping Treatment

Many elderly patients nowadays are enduring unnecessary and potentially harmful treatments at the end of their lives. Up to 1/3 are given chemotherapy, dialysis, blood transfusions or CPR in their final weeks which has no potential benefits and is only prolonging their suffering. Today’s review by researchers at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, estimates that up to 38 % of patients are put through unnecessary treatment at the end of life, according to an article on

The article states that researchers say family members are unwilling to let loved ones go and pressurize doctors into performing ‘heroic interventions.’ Their study involved 1.6 million patients across eight countries including England and is the largest so far to look at the extent of unnecessary procedures being undertaken at the end of life. These findings are just further evidence that patients are not experiencing a dignified and comfortable death as they deserve. We all want more time, it’s only human. But even though advanced medical care can sometimes do wonders for those with life-limiting illnesses, it can also be exhausting and counterproductive.

Many of us struggle with “letting go” as do doctors torn by the ethical dilemma of delivering what they were trained to do, save lives. At some point a decision may have to be made, not about ceasing all care, but about weighing the benefits of a certain course of treatment against its burdens. ‘This is why it’s so important to start a discussion now with your family and loves ones about their end of life care wishes. For those with life-limiting illness, fighting your hardest to live on can make living itself too difficult. Sometimes the question isn’t “What else can be done” but “How do I want to live now?”

If your health continues to worsen despite aggressive treatment, or you’ve simply decided to forgo hospital visits and exhausting treatments, you may want to consider hospice. Our health professionals will make sure you’re fully informed and well-prepared for the road ahead. To learn more about CompassionCare and hospice, call us today. 702-636-0200