Did you know that 75% of Canadians want to die in their homes? Also, a new report by the Canadian Institute for health information stated that people who choose palliative home care services in the last year of their lives are 2.5 times more likely to be able to die in their homes. Yet another report tells us that each year an estimated 40 million people around the world require palliative care, out of which only 14% receive it.
To understand this more profoundly, we asked Dr. Tim Ihrig to let us have the honor of interviewing him. Dr. Tim is a Chief Medical Officer at crossroads, hospice, and palliative care. He’s the founder and CEO of Ihrig MD and associates. Dr. Ihrig is internationally recognized for combining clinical and administrative experience to improve health care coordination and care delivery systems for the most vulnerable individuals.
Dr. Ihrig’s featured Ted talk, “How to Die Well” has been viewed more than 1 million times globally. He has also co-authored palliative care and symptom management and is an essayist in the recent healthcare industry, a national bestseller, the art of healthcare innovation.
Palliative care is primarily defined as an individual who is dealing with an advancing illness of vulnerability, et cetera. From the world of clinical medicine, Palliative care is a sub-specialty that focusses on putting the puzzle together for individuals who are dealing with advanced illness and having symptoms like pain, shortness of breath, anxiety, and also the psychosocial, the emotional, the spiritual aspects as well. It is whole-person care, and it starts with valid informed consent. Your doctor in palliative care has the right amount of knowledge about every disease, its trajectory, and progression. They then will put forth the wisdom in front of you so that you have a better understanding.
For instance, if it is about metastatic cancer, your palliative care physician has the fiduciary responsibility, moral responsibility, and ethical responsibility to bring forth an absolute truth because this is your life, this is your journey. The role of a doctor in palliative care is to help you identify where you’re at on your healthcare journey and be honest about what likely lies ahead. If they fail to do that, they cannot provide real care. The need of the hour is to tell the truth, good, better and different so that you will be open to sharing your hierarchy of needs and desires and sacredness so that it will become easier to move forward collectively.
Palliative care does not only involve caring for the patients, but it also takes care of the family of the patient by offering support to the family to help them cope with their family member’s illness and their grief. It also has a team to do so and approach this with utmost care through a specialized team.