Quality of Life versus Safety?

Healthcare is almost never black or white. Sometimes you have to juggle medical issues with quality of life issues. For example, I once observed a geriatric patient with Parkinson’s who really didn’t need to be eating normal food anymore, due to the danger of aspiration. He was deteriorating rapidly and didn’t have much control over his swallow.

However, eating was one of the few things he truly enjoyed. Was it more important to ruin his quality of life with safety? Or should safety come first, regardless of how it affects quality of life?

It was actually the speech therapist who made the decision on avoiding food, but it was the occupational therapist who knew how much enjoyed food. This case, for me, was a good example of the “gray” area that accompanies almost all healthcare decisions.

Jan 14, 2008 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none