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Embedding Palliative Care Into Healthy Aging: A Narrative Case Study From Thailand

Thiamwong, Ladda, PhD, RN; Pungchompoo, Wanicha, DClinP, RN

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: August 2018 - Volume 20 - Issue 4 - p 416–420
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000479
Global Exemplar Series

This article provides a conceptual framework for understanding the relationship between palliative care and healthy aging using a narrative case study from Thailand. The Thai context is used to clarify two concepts: healthy aging and good death. This case study describes a Thai female older adult's perspective and her drive to stay physically, cognitively, and socially active for as long as possible—strong indicators of healthy aging until the end of life. Family support is a vital part of helping older adults stay active and achieve a good death. The Thai healthy aging model explains a lifelong process of how to be a healthy ager in the Thai context. The model is closely related to a palliative care philosophy, which focuses on dying without unnecessary suffering and promotes closeness to family. This model supports the inclusion of palliative care in healthy aging strategies to maximize quality of life and well-being, particularly in older adults experiencing multimorbidity and health inequalities. Improved healthy aging is integrally related to the provision of high-quality palliative care. The earlier systems and providers can promote healthy aging across contexts, the more effectively interventions can be targeted to encourage and improve the experience of care at the end of life.

Ladda Thiamwong, PhD, RN, is assistant professor, University of Central Florida College of Nursing, Orlando.

Wanicha Pungchompoo, DClinP, RN, is associate professor, Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University, Thailand.

Address correspondence to Ladda Thiamwong, PhD, RN, University of Central Florida College of Nursing, 12201 Research Pkwy, Ste 300, Orlando, FL 32826 (ladda.thiamwong@ucf.edu).

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

© 2018 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.