May 10, 2009

Perfectly Happy?

Cognitive scientists who have conducted research on happiness have found that we are not very good at predicting what will make us happy. Ironically, chronic pain, constant noise can decrease our happiness dramatically and winning the lottery or achieving a life long wish often do not substantially increase our overall happiness. A recent Boston Globe article, Perfectly Happy, explores "happiness research" and its role in guiding priorities for social and health policy.

What do you think?

May 6, 2009

Quality of Life

Thank you to those of you who alerted me to a wonderful documentary series which aired on WBUR in Boston last week. It is beautifully written and produced, an informative view of the dilemma over end of life care in this country. The title of the documentary is Quality of Death, End of Life Care in America: Inside-Out. As I listened to the documentary I felt a more appropriate title might be Quality of Life instead of Quality of Death because even as patients, families and healthcare providers prepare for death, life continues. Perhaps our emphasis on what we DON'T want done at the end of life overshadows what we DO want done? I read an interesting article recently that proposed changing the terminology of D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate) to A.N.D. (Allow Natural Death). Is there is a difference in your mind between these two statements, or do you feel it is only semantics? This is difficult topic to wrestle with but one that is growing in prominence in the health care world as we confront a rapidly aging population as well as staggering healthcare costs.