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Optimal relief for pain at the end of life: a caregiver’s tale

Abstract

The current opioid crisis—driven partly by medical overprescription and partly by illegal drug abuse—is a significant cultural and professional dilemma in the USA and elsewhere. It has produced a strong reaction in favour of restricting medical use of opioids for pain, especially chronic pain. The author for a quarter century has written about pain from a biocultural perspective, and in this essay—based on his experience as primary caregiver for his late wife—he approaches the question of appropriate opioid use at the end of life.

  • medical humanities
  • care of the elderly
  • end-of-life care
  • narrative medicine
  • pain management

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