Being Mortal

Being Mortal

Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End

Atul Gawande

First, to genuinely help people with living “is harder to do than to talk about” and it’s difficult to make caregivers think about what it really entails. She gave the example of helping a person dress. Ideally, you let people do what they can themselves, thus maintaining their capabilities and sense of independence. But, she said, “Dressing somebody is easier than letting them dress themselves. It takes less time. It’s less aggravation.” So unless supporting people’s capabilities is made a priority, the staff ends up dressing people like they’re rag dolls. Gradually, that’s how everything begins to go. The tasks come to matter more than the people.

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