Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Opinion Critical Thinking

Matt Morgan: An ordinary death

BMJ 2022; 378 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o2242 (Published 20 September 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;378:o2242

Rapid Response:

Re: Matt Morgan: An ordinary death

Dear Editor

Alongside palliative care and ICU, may I mention care homes as a specialty that features the word 'care' in its name?

Care home staff, like Dr Morgan in his work, frame their residents' health problems as processes rather than events. We often work without words and numbers: written and spoken diagnostic cues may be missing because of communication difficulties or a lack of access to medical notes. Some monitoring devices or invasive tests are not appropriate for, or accepted by, the frail older person with dementia. We have then learned, like Dr Morgan, to focus not on numbers, physiology and "reversible" problems (which may in act not be so) but to look at the whole person and to balance textbook best practice alongside frailty, futility and resident's wishes, allowing an end of life with 'love, peace and companions'.

Competing interests: I am a care home nurse

21 September 2022
Helen C Cowan
Care home nurse
Oxford