It 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?