On March 17, 2021, a ReachHigher issue entitled “For a good end – basics of palliative medicine and thoughts on ethics and communication” took place. In it, Prof. Dr. med. Dr. rer. nat. Andreas-Stefan Lübbe reported on his work with dying patients. Prof. Lübbe is Medical Director of the UMCH teaching hospital Medical Center for Health Bad Lippspringe (MZG Westfalen) as well as Chief Physician of the Cecilien Clinic and the Palliative Care Unit of the Karl Hansen Clinic, both of which belong to the MZG.
Palliative medicine is a specialty that has already become strongly established in medical institutions in many countries over the past decades. According to Prof. Lübbe, this trend will continue in the future. This is due to the fact that the number of people requiring palliative medical care will increase significantly in the coming decades. In the past, the medical specialty dealt primarily with cancer patients. However, those affected by other conditions can also benefit from palliative care. Since the process of dying is often taboo in our western world, the personal needs of dying patients are often overlooked, which usually increases their suffering unnecessarily. As part of his work within palliative care, Prof. Lübbe makes an important contribution to recognizing the needs of dying patients and meeting them appropriately. In the course of the lecture, Prof. Lübbe vividly summarized how people whose death is imminent can be helped to live the rest of their lives as autonomously, painlessly and pleasantly as possible, and thus ultimately to die with dignity.
In the Q&A session that followed the lecture, Prof. Lübbe addressed in detail, among other issues, the extent to which different cultural and religious backgrounds can have an influence on individual palliative care, and whether belief in life after death can ease the process of dying.