In the tradition of Atul Gwande’s Being Mortal, this compassionate work helps individuals develop a more accepting view of dying while teaching them what to expect and how to navigate the healthcare system at end of life.
The health care system has a narrow view of how to care for patients in elderhood. That view focuses on extending life with machines and procedures, not caring holistically for the patient. As such, patients will likely spend the last years of their lives in long-term care facilities and their final weeks in an ICU. Our fear of death contributes to this model for health. Dying at home, peacefully, and surrounded by family is almost impossible in our world.
Fittingly, the central idea of this book is that in old age, or when facing a terminal diagnosis, it is more important to understand your life rather than to extend it. While this may seem simple, its implications are profound.
A natural death means accepting that, at some point, we are old enough or sick enough to die without trying to interrupt that natural process beyond being kept comfortable. In our cynical and overly clinical age, it is difficult to reflect on the meaning of one’s life, but that kind of honest introspection is exactly what we need. Accordingly, The Journey’s End seeks to help people manage their healthcare, their expectations, and their decisions in the final phase of life.
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