Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Disturbing news - care for the dying

One of the marks of any civilised society (I won't say Christian society for fear of appearing hopelessly anachronistic) is surely the way we care for the dying. By contrast, the society in which we now live, with its rapidly ageing population and its perverse cult of youth and immaturity, is increasing characterised by a media-fuelled cultural indifference to the elderly which borders on contempt *, and an avoidance of the subject of death and dying, no doubt because for many it is the final catastrophe, beyond which lies only the darkness of oblivion.
The following report  about the possible abuse of of the NHS Liverpool Care Pathway should be of deep concern to all of us, and not only those who are counter-cultural enough to pray that we may be delivered from a sudden and unprepared death, and be able to spend our last hours in the company of friends and relations and fortified by the rites of Holy Church. 

See Here from The Telegraph and read the full report - excerpt below - from The Catholic Herald [here]
" The Department of Health has rejected a call by a senior Catholic archbishop for an official inquiry into the care of terminally ill patients on the Liverpool Care Pathway.
The Archbishop of Southwark wrote to the Secretary of State for Health last month, urging him to launch a “thorough and urgent investigation” into the controversial care pathway.
In a letter dated September 27, Archbishop Peter Smith expressed concern to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt about the growing controversy surrounding the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP).
He wrote: “It does seem to me that a thorough and urgent investigation needs to take place, examining the evidence on which the criticisms that have been made of the LCP rest, so that conclusions can be reached as to whether any corrective action is needed.”
Archbishop Smith added: “If the allegations that are being made can be substantiated, there is serious cause for concern either that the LCP is in some way structurally unsound and needs to be modified or that some doctors and nurses are failing to implement the guidelines as intended.
“Equally, if the allegations are without substance, dying patients and their loved ones are at risk of being caused needless anxiety as a result of which they may well seek to avoid treatment and care from which they would benefit.”
The LCP, which is used by hospitals as a framework to guide medical care of the dying, faced fresh criticism this week after it was reported that an 85-year-old woman had died alone at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital because medics allegedly did not consult her family before placing her on the pathway."

* Not helped, it has to be said, by the kind of signals given by the Church in Wales' Governing Body, which in a society where the retirement age is rising, and more and more people are living active and fitter lives into what used to be regarded as extreme old age, still insists on the age of 75 as a compulsory retirement age even for the province's lay volunteer leadership - so as to, supposedly,  encourage the growth of younger congregations [see here page 6]  Presumably we are 'ordaining' more and more grandmothers for the same reason...

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