The health care needs of those with chronic and serious life-threatening illnesses are definitely complexed. I also emphatically recognize that dying is the ultimate ending to life’s journey.
It is sad to say that our health care system has come to acknowledge “the right to die” through the almighty dollar. Medicaid workers are now being instructed to “encourage” patients NOT to call 911 and hospitals are being penalized for too many ED visits from the chronically-ill.
The light at the end of this “tunnel” (or more commonly called our continuum of care) is that quality of life care rather than quantity of days’ care is becoming more the trend. Internet input and social media have increased consumer awareness and the health care system now uses the phrase “patient-centered care.”
Our responsibility now lies in transitioning those qualities of life decisions into a peaceful end-of-life experience. Because people are accustomed to living-at-all-costs and not to peaceful comfortable dying experience, this shift in awareness is challenging to accomplish.
I do believe in honest compassion, trusting rapport, and unconditional support.
That is to say….Progressive Palliative Care can slowly but surely allow us to live with dignity based on our individual sense of quality until we take our final curtain call.
In his book “Being Mortal” Dr. Atul Gawande outlined some very important questions. What are YOUR answers?
A. What do you understand your prognosis to be? (…this is for any “chronic-not-going-away” diagnosis)
B. What are your biggest fears and concerns?
C. What goals are most important to you?
D. What trade-offs are you willing to make? What ones are you not willing to make?
E. How do you want to spend your time if your health worsens?
F. What’s your understanding of where you are with your health?
G. What are you willing or not willing to go through for more time?
H. What’s the minimum quality of life you feel is acceptable?
I. What are your fears about what’s ahead with your health?
J. How do you want to live?
K. What do you really want?
L. What are you fighting for?