Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Introduction to Death and Dying

By

Elizabeth L. Cobbs

, MD, George Washington University;


Karen Blackstone

, MD, George Washington University;


Joanne Lynn

, MD, MA, MS, Altarum Institute

Last full review/revision Oct 2019| Content last modified Oct 2019
Click here for the Professional Version

Death is an intrinsic part of life, and talking about the likely outcomes of illness, including death and dying, is an important part of health care. Doctors and patients vary in the language they use and in their comfort level regarding such discussions.

People also vary in their comfort level regarding the amount of information and involvement in decision making that they want. Seriously ill people and their loved ones should generally try to understand the likely future course of their illness as well as the options for living with their particular disabilities and family situation.

People should make any preferences about treatment and family support known. Such preferences are known as advance directives Advance Directives Health care advance directives are legal documents that communicate a person’s wishes about health care decisions in the event the person becomes incapable of making health care decisions. There... read more . People who do not talk with their families and health care providers about their preferences for care near the end of their life may receive treatments (such as chemotherapy or surgery) or end up living in situations (such as a hospital or nursing home) they would not have wanted.

More Information about Death and Dying

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
Others also read
Test your knowledge
Benefits of Exercise
Which of the following statements about exercise is NOT correct?
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
TOP