Contra Costa Times: Letter to the Editor: Discuss end-of-life care with loved ones

I want to thank Lisa Krieger for sharing the story of her father's final days (Feb. 5). It was a poignant remembrance that raised issues we all must consider in the care of a loved one. Stories such as Krieger's are essential to raise the level and frequency of the discussion about end-of-life care options.

Studies show that people often experience fragmented care and poor communication at the end of life, which also puts an enormous strain on family caregivers. A palliative care team, working in concert with hospital physicians, can assist patients and their loved ones in identifying their treatment choices and goals for medical care. These discussions are translated into a care plan that respects the wishes of the patient and family.

I encourage family members with loved ones facing end-of-life care issues to have these important discussions. It is possible to manage pain and discomfort and improve quality of life for patients and their loved ones at what we all know is a very difficult time.

Donna Foliart, M.D.
Walnut Creek

Foliart is medical director of palliative care at John Muir Health.

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