No Easy Answers: Better Senior Care at the End of Life

Posted on November 21st, 2010

Dr. Lewis M. Cohen

Linda Fodrini-Johnson, Nat'l Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, Dr. Lewis M. Cohen & Beverly Bernstein Joie, Elder Connections

End of Life Issues

At no other time in history have the issues related to end of life presented us with such challenges.  We are being confronted as human beings with some of the most perplexing issues about how we choose to interface with our mortality and that of the people we love.

Care Management Leads the Way

Last week I attended The Mid Atlantic Chapter Conference of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers in Fairfax VA.  The conference was entitled “Care Management Leads The Way: Navigating Through the Healthcare Continuum”.  Among the presenters was Dr. Lewis M. Cohen, an internationally known psychiatrist from Tufts University School of Medicine.

Real Search at End of Life

In his newly published book, No Good Deed, Dr. Cohen’s account of two nurses reads like a murder mystery.  But, while death does occur in this rendering, the circumstances of death compel us to pay attention to the issues before us.  His powerful story is based upon real people who as professionals were caring for terminally ill patients.  Accused of the death of their charges, Dr. Cohen reveals what happens in these examples and others when end-of-life decisions are played out in hospitals, courtrooms and in the church.  He explores all sides of the controversy while examining a modern health system with the technical ability to prolong life while keeping in mind the real life issues of those who are suffering and dying.

Compassion in Health Care

We were all moved by Dr. Cohen’s tale of end-of –life issues and the human beings who attempt to serve this population with compassion in a health care climate that does not always support them.  The presentation came to life to those present when both Linda Fodrini-Johnson, President of The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers and I were selected to portray the nurses in the book.  The book and the issues portrayed came to life as we lived the nurses’ experiences.  For all those caring for others as either professionals or family members, this is a must read!

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