Five Things this palliative care doctor wished you knew about the end of life by Dr Ollie Minton.

Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

1. Palliative medicine is not just for the last days of life. We can add quality and symptom management when someone is treatable but not curable.

2. We see people based on their needs, not just what’s wrong with them. People are not their cancer.

3. Doctors will generally offer more tests and treatment, especially in hospital. Don’t be afraid to ask why they’re offering more treatment, especially if you feel it’s not working. We’re often only asked to get involved when someone is imminently dying but you can ask to see us much earlier.

4. Doctors are bad at prognosis (predicting how long someone has to live) and will always over estimate, even at the end of life.

5. Death is a natural process. When someone is dying, they’re likely to need drugs, not food or fluids. This won’t shorten someone’s life.

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By Dr Ollie Minton, Macmillan consultant in palliative medicine @drol007