End of Life Care Is a Right for All . . . Isn’t It??
One might argue that a ‘good death’ includes family support, autonomy of medical treatment choices and access to good palliative care supports. Do all Canadians deserve and expect such a death? What about those experiencing homelessness?
Homelessness is a complex social issue. Health outcomes for individuals experiencing homelessness are far worse than for those who live in affordable and stable housing. The multiple stressors of homelessness force people to prioritize meeting their immediate survival needs such as staying safe, finding shelter, acquiring food, and replenishing clothing. Without timely and appropriate treatment, common illnesses become more complex and life-threatening diseases advance unhindered, resulting in increased emergency department visits and hospital admissions. In addition, systemic inequities within the health system contribute to persons who experience structural vulnerability and encounter significant barriers to palliative care, including end-of-life care.
Can palliative care and a ‘good death’ ever be truly equitable for all?
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