La mort apaisée – Chronique d’une infirmière en soins palliatifs – E. et M. Gagnet 1

Publié le 6 Jan, 2008

Accompanying until the end


How to accompany a close relative until the death when we and he first know, that he suffers an incurable disease? With sensitivity and delicacy, Elise Gagnet tells the story of several ends of life through her daily nursing experience in a palliative care unit. Without taboo, sometimes with humour and a great humanity, she deals with all the questions arising during this painful period and, through these columns, answers the questions from patients, families and health professionals.


The alleviated death


Offering the patients the maximum comfort for their last moments, alleviating the pain, giving the time, so precious at the end, to say goodbye, to make peace with themselves and their relative, promises a more alleviated death. 


The support from a team


Force is required to support so many daily pain and mourning.  The team must doubly love live so that patients can enjoy it until the end. The solidarity and the dialog within the health care team are more fundamental than anywhere else, to never let a nurse alone faced with her own anxiety, her own fear of death. Here, the treatments are decided by the whole medical team. Psychologists, orderlies, nurses, all are here to help the physician in choosing the more adapted treatment and the best way to give it.


Feel like dying?


If Elise Gagnet evaluates to one out of three, the patients who said, in moments of intensive pain or anxiety, they wanted to die, if some implore: “give me an injection so that I can die… “, she testifies that reminding the prohibition and the legality is a mean to initiate the dialog with the patient, to force him to the wall. The demand always disappears when the patient is physically and psychologically alleviated.  “It is not the fear from the law which refrains me from giving death, but the deep conviction other solutions exists.


When the human contact wins out over the technique, beyond the therapy, offering his time and his patience helps the families exhausted by a heavy and difficult health management. It is possible to give back the man its final dignity. This luminous book is the testimony.


1La mort apaisée – Chronique d’une infirmière en soins palliatifs, Elise et Michaëlle Gagnet,  Ed. de la Martinière, Octobre 2007. 

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