Friday, April 13, 2007

End-Of-Life Care of Holocaust Survivors

Day to Day, a radio program on NPR, had a good segment (4:47) on the difficulties and opoprtunities in caring for Holocaust survivors as they age. The primary focus was not end-of-life situations but it has implications for hospice & palliative medicine. The piece is a good example of how understanding and knowing the individual can really help give the best medical care. I have only cared for two holocaust patients (that I am aware of), but I did not encounter any of the issues brought up in the piece. Often a pleasant or at least neutral situation with patients near the end-of-life is when they 'see' or 'hear' people or re-experience memories from the past. For a holocaust survivor this may be much more difficult. April 16th is Yom Hashoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day.

One highly reccommended book for the HPM practioner is Dr. Victor Frankl's book Man Search For Meaning. He was a holocaust survivor who was able to find meaning in life despite being in concentration camps.

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