I think I have a general idea of how old most of us here are, I gather that outside of me and Funky, most here are in the boomer demographic. As I set out on a new chapter in my career, I feel like there is no doubt that the boomer demo is going to reshape and reconfigure how we think about medicine. When I take care of great generation seniors in hospice, the ones who still have their wits about them tend to be very blunt and matter of factly say things like, "It's time to go, I'm ready". This is a group of people who are very proud, and very independent and when their independence and ability to be self sufficient is gone, they want to die. I'm not entirely sure how the boomers are going to handle this.
My view of a lot of the great generation is that not being independent is basically the same thing as being dead. They don't want to be a burden on anyone. Some boomers I take care of are pretty matter of fact about things and embrace the idea of quality of final days versus quantity of final days. But, with the advances that keep occurring in medicine, I think boomers are going to have a plethora of options open to them that previous generations did not. We already can keep a person alive well beyond the point where they are unable to care for themselves. But, up til now, there hasn't really been much discussion on whether we should.
We've sorta talked about this before here, but I'm curious to get an update on where people stand these days. Should we always keep a body functioning as long as we can, just because we can, or should we start to consider if there should be some limitations on how far we go with treatment? I suppose this gets close to the death panel discussion, but to address that directly, should a doctor be able to convene an ethics committee and based on the findings of that committee tell a family or patient that they are not going to continue aggressive treatment? At the least, does it seem like we have reached a point in medicine where a patient should be given more options to pursue treatment that is purely comfort oriented rather than treatment that is meant to prolong their life as long as possible? Thoughts?