The Current

It's time to talk about end-of-life and palliative care

It's a difficult conversation... but a critical one. Following yesterday's conversation about "Being Mortal", we bring together a panel of palliative care experts to talk about talking care in our final days. They say the situation Dr. Atul Gawande described is true in Canada as well.
People working in Palliative care in Canada say the conversations are starting but there is still a dire need for better end of life care. (Lotus Carroll/Flickr cc)

"I learned about a lot of things at med school. Mortality wasn't one of them." - Dr. Atul Gawande

Yesterday we brought you Anna Maria Tremonti's interview with Doctor Atul Gawande, the author of "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End."  Doctor Gawande shared some provocative thoughts on death, dying and communication with medical professionals.

According to Doctor Atul Gawande, the one thing they don't teach young doctors in medical school ... is the one thing we know will one day afflict us all. He talks about end of life care and his book, "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End." 24:59

A study published last year supports the idea that Canadian doctors are not doing a good job of communicating with their patients when it comes to death and dying. 

Dr. John You was the lead author of the study. He's an associate professor at McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

Last November Anna Maria Tremonti explored that difficult subject with a panel of specialists.  

Susan MacDonald is the president of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians. She's also an Associate Professor of Medicine and Family Medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland.  She was on vacation in Hawaii at the time.

Mark Handelman is a health law lawyer in Toronto, specializing in the legal aspects of end of life decisions

Karen Henderson is the Founder and CEO of The Long Term Care Planning Network in Toronto.   

It's certainly not easy to talk about this, but we're interested in listening.

Tell us your stories. Is this something you're going through with a family member? How are you facing the discussion? And if you're aren't... why not? 

Tweet us @TheCurrentCBC or if you need more space to tell your story, send us an email.

This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath.