For Jill Hofstede, whose 90-year-old mother has Alzheimer’s disease, news about the coronavirus becomes more terrifying every day.
Although the potential shortages of mechanical ventilators and intensive care beds have made headlines, Hofstede fears a surge of COVID-19 patients could deprive her mother of something far more basic should she contract the disease: relief from pain and suffering.
“I do not want her to die of the virus,” said Hofstede, 57, a mother of five who lives in Brush Prairie, Washington. Even more crucially, Hofstede said, “I would not want her to suffer.”
“There should be some right to dying with dignity, even in the midst of a pandemic,” she said.
Some experts worry that a long-standing shortage of palliative care professionals ― who focus on the physical pain and mental and