‘Best Care’: We Make Death Harder Than It Has To Be (NPR)


In an extensive interview with NPR’s Talk of the Nation, Dartmouth Medical School Professor Ira Byock discusses the changes that he would like to see made within the health care system to ensure that patients and their families are receiving the best end of life care as possible.

“We have a disease treatment system more than a health care system these days,” Byock told NPR. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not enough. We have to begin to care well for people who are living with these diseases, not simply the physiology and pathology itself.”

Byock, the director of palliative medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center, is the author of the new book The Best Care Possible, a Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End Of Life.

In the interview with NPR, Byock addresses his concerns surrounding end of life care in this country.  “Too many people are suffering still as they die, too many people say they have fallen through the cracks and that they and their family are suffering,” he says.

Byock goes on to explain that the resources and methods for making improvements are available. “Our team at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is showing that you don’t have to give up treatment for your disease to get a comprehensive team approach of care for you and your families’ quality of life. Dying is hard, but it doesn’t have to be this hard.”

Listen to the full story, broadcast 3/26/12 on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

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