What is “Terminal Wean?
“Terminal Wean” is the intentional reduction of medical life-support, especially mechanical or supplemental respiration, allowing a patient to die. The decision to stop providing care for a patient is made daily in most hospitals. Hospitals and nursing homes should have a policy available with regard to withdrawing or withholding treatment. The use of the expression “terminal wean” is of concern to The Center because of the terms used. The word “wean” is used in situations where life and growth are cherished and supported, as in the weaning a child from the breast. To transfer use of this word to a situation where life supports are being withdrawn mixes metaphors and can contribute to demoralization of the life-death environment. Consideration of withdrawing or withholding life supports is a situation to be handled with the utmost care and concern. The transferring of images so closely connected to life should be avoided. The word “wean” has to do with the beginning of life. Its use, i