Atul Gawande Being Mortal Analysis

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Being Mortal is a captivating book that I was thrilled to have read for nursing school. Atul Gawande takes you on his journey about what an older adult truly wants and feels when making the transition into old age. He truly takes the time to show you different examples and circumstances in which an older adult must give up something they love in order to mold into what society has made available for older adults. According to the CDC, “In 2014 there were an estimated… 1,369,700 current residents in nursing homes…” (Harris-Kojetin, Sengupta & Park-Lee, 2016, p. xi). This is an astounding number of older adults that are being cared for by others, and that number is only going to continue growing. Throughout Being Mortal, you are taken on a trip…show more content…
Essentially, Hospice and palliative care focus on managing symptoms when a patient is deemed to have 6 months or less to live and allows patients to live out their lives away from a hospital or nursing home setting. Partially the reason why most people, including me, haven’t heard that much about Hospice is most likely because it is intended for people at the very end of their lives. However, another major reason is addressed in Gawande’s book, and it revolves around the idea that doctors don’t inform their patients every time that Hospice is really an option. Gawande admits himself throughout his book that like most doctors, he is always over-optimistic and focus on the treatment of the disease, forgetting to focus on the idea of just managing the symptoms in cases where treatment would only prolong the inevitable or giving too many choices for families to make. Gawande explains “All-out treatment, we tell the incurably ill, is a train you can get off at any time- just say when”, however other options are often never talked about (2014, p. 187). One example from Being Mortal is the story of Sara Monopoli, who faced an incurable form of cancer at a rather young age. Sara, along with her family and husband, never focused on just symptom management, but rather what new and outrageous treatment can be done…show more content…
Gawande really captures what happens in the older adult life that society, not just workers in the medical field, forget about. Just because people are growing older and are losing functioning of their bodies doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to make their own decisions or have their priorities matter. Being Mortal has shown me that most doctors are afraid to give their patients a clear diagnosis and offer Hospice, which I hope is something that is changed within the next couple of years. Hospice is a great alternative for someone who knows that they are near the end of their time but want to remain comfortable and living at home. I would love to see an increase in older adults who are aware that hospice and palliative care are options, and even patients who have terminal illnesses. And last but not least, possibly the most important thing I have learned this semester and from Being Mortal is how slightly changing the environment where someone resides can have drastic effects on how a person acts. Maintaining an environment which keeps the patient calm and comfortable can be seen to drastically alter how their future and outcome looks. I would recommend every nursing and medical student read Being Mortal because it gives insight into topics that are barely looked upon in the medical field. There are great lessons to be learned from this book and I hope that what Gawande has
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