I Want My End of Life to be Like the Queen. And Not Because of Her Wealth…

In life experiences nothing is worse to experience than the sense of helplessness at the end of life when you witness your loved ones (or my patients for 20 years) slowly declining physically and mentally.

Since the magic elixir for eternal life has not been invented, we have to accept the next best thing, dying the same way as the British monarch, none of this is related to her wealth and status, but it has everything to do with her drive and ability to function at her job and life up to two days before her death on September 8th 2022 at the age of 96.

Two days before her passing, the British monarch greeted the prime minister.

The best-case scenario is that she did not have a long, drawn-out, dwindling quality of life. Her death came just two days from her functioning at her “regular level.”

We are all born with a reserve of function, both Physical and Mental.. We go through life building up our reserves with physical and mental activities, and our potential can vary, from physically a top-notch athlete to a couch potato, and everything in between.

The common theme is that our functional capacities rise and fall with time. We can add more functional reserve by depositing units of fitness, knowledge, and experience throughout our lifespan and sometimes our potential is lost if we experience a catastrophic illness or accident.

At the end of the day, humans all have the same needs, as described by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In plain English, we all have the need to care for ourselves and family, make a living, and get a break for leisure regularly. This led us to conclude that the most value in health care is focused on building our hierarchy of needs and not destroying it, and ultimately nothing is worth measuring for patient outcomes more than Human Function both mental and physical.

In conclusion, no matter what experiences we have in life, the best end-of-life experience would be to live as agile and vibrant as long as possible and be able to function up to two days before death. The good news? We don’t have to be royalty to make it happen.

Ali Alhimiri, MD is the Founder and CEO of Modus, a digital company focused on healthcare quality and cost.

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