Boundaries of (Im)measurability in Palliative Care

  • Goedele Vandersloten


Throughout the years, hospitals have become more commercialized. We can ask ourselves how quality of care can be kept up to the mark, considering the current trend of financial crisis, war on inefficiency, specializations, quantitative parameters and audits, the measuring of the impact in bigger versus smaller hospitals .

The very moment a patient is hospitalized, he is absorbed into a system, into the logic and the rules of an organization. To what extent are we at that moment then still the owner of our own life and body, and where exactly lie the boundaries for the hospital as organization to take over this fundamental ownership? What predominates when questions of life and death are at stake, how are these issues managed within a hospital culture and how can patient, doctor, care-giver and family work together in the (seemingly?) ultimate immeasurable: the end of a life? These and further questions shall be addressed in this essay, using various depersonalized cases from everyday practice at the nursing ward.


Palliative care Sedation End of life decisions Dilemma of care Self-determination 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Goedele Vandersloten
    • 1
  1. 1.Campus GelbergenHoeledenBelgium

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