An op-ed by Drs. Anthony Back and Terry Fulmer, "A Lasting Lesson from Barbara Bush" in McKnights Long-Term Care News, discusses the lessons the former First Lady taught us about "comfort care."

"As First Lady, Barbara Bush set a memorable standard of decency, straight talk and common sense. Just before she died, she did something somewhat remarkable, and it spoke volumes about her wisdom and character. At the same time, it was something patients in her situation rarely discuss publicly: She announced that she was going on “comfort care.”

"What comfort care really means is a different kind of intensive care, one that treats pain, strengthens coping and opens lines of communication, love and spiritual connection. It may occur at home, like it did for Mrs. Bush, or in a home-like setting. It allows us to be surrounded by family and friends, if we wish, rather than clinicians and their staff. Focusing on comfort signals a reliance on deep medical and nursing knowledge, and a willingness for patients, clinicians and families to collaborate to ensure that the patient's needs and preferences are met."

Anthony Back, M.D., is professor at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and codirects the UW Center for Excellence in Palliative Care, and Terry Fulmer, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, is the President of The John A. Hartford Foundation.

To read the op-ed, click here.