Palliative & end of life care

Death is a part of life. If we exclude a discussion of treatment and other considerations in the management of terminal conditions and end-of-life situations, we would not do justice to the motto of maxfacts: to provide information on all aspects of oral and maxillofacial surgery. Furthermore, we think that it is unhelpful for all, clinicians, patients, friends, carers alike to avoid the topic. This is something that has been emphasised by the Royal College of Physicians (UK) in 2018. It is important to recognise that the end of life is not a lost battle but a natural consequence of life.

On purely statistical grounds: for the vast majority of people it will not be an oral or maxillofacial condition that will terminate their life. It is far more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, stroke, some forms of dementia, diabetes, or malignancies other than head & neck cancers. However, some will die from oral and maxillofacial conditions, including head & neck malignancies, severe infections and major trauma.  

With this background, our section about palliative and end-of-life care will start with some brief and general outline of palliative care considerations on the following page. There is a more clinical discussion of the main terminal conditions and causes of death in oral and maxillofacial surgery. Finally, we share our own views and opinions about a topic that should not be a taboo.

Next section: Palliative & end of life care