Dokteren aan het levenseinde: Gebruik heldere taal

Translated title of the contribution: Practicing medicine at the end of life: Use clear language

Siebe J. Swart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Up to thirty years ago, in the Netherlands the word 'stervensbegeleiding' [literally, dyingguidance] was used to refer to care for people in the last days of life. After Cicely Saunders had developed a multidisciplinary and multidimensional approach for care for the dying, the wording changed, until the word 'palliative care' was adopted. This care gradually developed from care for the dying to care for all people with lifethreatening illness, as illustrated in the WHO definition. This shift in focus of care raises the question of when palliative care starts. The surprise question is regarded as a useful tool for marking this shift in focus of care. However, answering the surprise question does not inform us about palliative care needs. Nevertheless, when people enter the dying phase, a fundamental change in the nature of care is needed. The word 'stervensbegeleiding' marks this change of care.

Translated title of the contributionPracticing medicine at the end of life: Use clear language
Original languageDutch
Article numberD1733
JournalNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

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