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Has Palliative Care’s Media Moment Arrived?

Media momentAs someone interested in public perceptions of the end of life, I’ve been encouraged by the recent increased media coverage of this topic.

In just the past few weeks, TIME magazine did a story about how the baby boomers may change end-of-life care (http://ti.me/16PbmL1 ), NPR host Scott Simon tweeted from the ICU bedside of his dying mother (http://n.pr/18PV8Vx ), various news outlets have discussed palliative care in regard to Nelson Mandela’s medical condition (http://abcn.ws/18iy3XL, http://bit.ly/17lCH6j, http://ind.pn/1bGdPGP ), and death cafes are springing up in various cities (http://nyti.ms/13Wzh93).

Now, this may be wishful thinking, but could we be on the cusp of a change in how the public views the end of life? This is the premise Lawrence Brown provides in his “Stealing on insensibly: End-of-life politics in the U.S” published in the October 2012 Health Economics, Policy, and Law. There he states that “the nation appears to be… making incremental progress toward the replacement of clinical and other types of dogma with end-of-life options that honor the preferences of the dying” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=stealing+on+insensibly).

If so, palliative care’s time may have come.

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Can We Talk?
Watch and share this five minute video about the need for prophylactic end-of-life conversations. Laura Heldebrand, an ICU nurse tells her mother's story.
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