Debra L. Ness, MS; Beverley H. Johnson, BSN
This article was published online first at www.annals.org on 9 December 2014.
Acknowledgment: The authors thank Deborah Dokken, a family leader and consultant, for her assistance in developing this article. Ms. Dokken was the Associate Director for the Initiative for Pediatric Palliative Care for 10 years and testified for and reviewed the IOM report “When Children Die: Improving Palliative and End-of-Life Care for Children and Their Families.”
Disclosures: Authors have disclosed no conflicts of interest. Forms can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M14-2537.
Requests for Single Reprints: Debra L. Ness, MS, National Partnership for Women & Families, 1875 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 650, Washington, DC 20009; e-mail, email@example.com.
Current Author Addresses:Ms. Ness: National Partnership for Women & Families, 1875 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 650, Washington, DC 20009.
Ms. Johnson: Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care, 6917 Arlington Road, Suite 309, Bethesda, MD 20814.
Author Contributions:Conception and design: D.L. Ness, B.H. Johnson.
Analysis and interpretation of the data: D.L. Ness, B.H. Johnson.
Drafting of the article: D.L. Ness, B.H. Johnson.
Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: D.L. Ness, B.H. Johnson.
Final approval of the article: D.L. Ness, B.H. Johnson.
Ness D., Johnson B.; Dying in America: A Constructive Step Forward and an Opportunity to Deepen Partnerships With Patients and Families. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162:226-227. doi: 10.7326/M14-2537
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2015;162(3):226-227.
There may be no truer test of a health care system than how it supports persons with advanced illness or at the end of life and the loved ones who care for them. In that regard, most would agree that our health care system struggles and often fails. For too many of these immensely vulnerable patients and their families, the trauma inherent in having a loved one become critically ill and die is compounded, rather than alleviated, by a system that is ill-prepared to provide clinically sound patient- and family-centered care. In addition to causing physical and emotional suffering, this failure contributes to soaring health care costs that put enormous strain on families and our economy.
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