Having discussions about care that someone would or would not want in the final stages of his or her life is difficult and emotional for all involved, including the individual, loved ones, health care providers, and others. But it is something that needs to be done, ideally before someone is at the point of not being able to express his or her wishes. A one-hour free webinar today hosted by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement will feature discussions about how people can broach these conversations. The webinar is titled “Have you had “The Conversation”? Helping Loved Ones Discuss End-of-Life Preferences” and starts at 2:00pm. You can sign up at www.ihi.org. This event will, among other things, introduce a new project at IHI called The Conversations Project.
In order for patients and family members to feel comfortable having these discussions not only with one another but also with their health care providers, it is necessary that providers also learn how to discuss end-of-life care. On that note, we applaud the MA Board of Registration in Medicine for its new requirement, effective February 1, that physicians must take 2 CME credits in end-of-life care.
Most of us have had personal experiences, or know others who have had personal experiences, with end-of-life care for loved ones or friends. Health Care For All would like to start hearing your stories about those experiences as we look at how we can help make a difference in this area. Please contact Deb Wachenheim at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a story to share.