End-of-life can be a confusing time. In trying to help people live as long as possible, modern medicine sometimes stumbles in helping people live as well as possible.
Many diseases, and their treatments, can cause distressing physical symptoms and psychological stress and limit people’s abilities to live their lives in a way that is meaningful to them.
Too often, in caring for these illnesses, the medical system’s automatic response is to do whatever is possible to keep a person alive at any costs and with any result as long as that result is not death.
However, different people have different preferences about how long, and in what state they wish to be kept alive. These may be religious preferences or based on specific personal experiences.
Whatever the circumstances, the sense of losing control over what is happening as death approaches can be very frightening for the patient and their loved ones.