The New Israeli Law “The Dying Patient” and Relief of Suffering Units
Bechor Zvi Aminoff, M.D, Ph.D.
Geriatric division, Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, 52621; Human Suffering and Satisfaction Research Center, Israel, El-Ad; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The new Israeli Law “The Dying Patient” provides avenues for possible medical, ethical and Halachic (Jewish religious law) solutions in view of the complexity of the treatment of an end-stage dementia (ESD) patient. The establishment of a hospice-like setting for dementia patients in Israel, based on palliative treatment only, similar to the Jewish hospices in the United States of America, is extremely important. This paper proposes a new, alternative approach and setting for patients with ESD that could pertain to the Israeli setting and could possibly also be acceptable in other countries.
1. Screening the suffering level of dying patients by means of the (MSSE) scale developed by us for revealing which patients have a high level of suffering (MSSE = 7-10)
2 Patients with a high level of suffering (MSSE = 7-10) should be hospitalized in “Relief of Suffering Units”
3. Period of hospitalization in such a unit is estimated to be 1 month
4. Patients whose suffering level diminishes during hospitalization in these units could be discharged
5. The desirable approach to dying patients in “Relief of Suffering Units” will be to seek solutions for diminishing the high suffering level of the patients
Treatment in the Relief of Suffering Units would be in accordance with the principles determined in the New Israeli Law.
These units would be the source for integral medical, nursing, religious, ethical, psychological and sociological research, seeking methods to cope with the horrendous burden of suffering of dying patients, their families and the nursing staff.
Our proposal was published in book – Measurement of Suffering in end-stage Alzheimer’s Disease, Dyonon, Tel-Aviv,2007.