To Tell or Not to Tell, That is the Question

2011 November 27

I'm lyingIt is a very frequent occurrence for any palliative service in India to come across patients who come with no clear idea of prognosis and at times, even of diagnosis. Often even dying patients are told,

.. we shall resume chemotherapy when you are stronger.

Palliative care teams then have the difficult task not only of disclosing the prognosis, but also of helping them to cope with the feeling of rejection.

But what would really be the better choice – a patient informed of imminent death, or someone blissfully unaware of it?

A report based on a study conducted in Sweden and published in “Journal of Clinical Oncology” – comprising 1091 patients, each in informed and uninformed groups – showed that

“providing information of imminent death to a patient with cancer at the end of life does not seem to increase pain or anxiety, but it does seem to be associated with improved care and to increase the likelihood of fulfilling the principles of a good death.”

Read the report here: Information of Imminent Death or Not: Does It Make a Difference?

 

One Response
  1. dr sara varghese permalink
    December 15, 2011

    I certainly feel that depending on the patient it is wise to tell.How to get the patient to ask.(1) It helps in accepting death which any way is inevitable (2) Moreover if the patient is commonsensical will do ALL the things that needs to be done like a handing over session. (3)With acceptance there is time for a spiritual growth too irrespective of the religion and educational status.(4)information especially about ones own self is empowering and there is responsibility to have a quality death. Thes are th 4 valid reasons based on my experience as i faced death when my husband died 2 years ago

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