When it comes to End-of-Life planning, “We try to avoid it until we’re in the midst of a crisis,” said palliative care expert Dr. Suzana Makowski in a recent story on the issue – Why?
Part of the dilemma is Americans have gotten used to avoiding the topic. Dr. Makowski’s Palliative Medicine division at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center is working to change that behavior. “We have to learn to have the conversation before the storm hits, when we feel well enough to engage in a discussion,” Makowski said.
She not only advocates for individuals to make an End-of-Life Plan, Makowski’s hospital is doing its part to ensure their patients’ final wishes are followed. UMass Medical Center is about to launch a new Advance Care Planning Technology Platform that integrates a patient’s End-of-Life wishes into their electronic medical records. “We recognized the opportunity to use technology to support conversations about End-of-Life.” Makowski said.
In the story, Dr. Makowski talks about a friend who would have benefited from having his End-of-Life plan in place. He was a healthy man who suffered life-threatening injuries while cycling. After his accident, his family was put in the situation of having to decide: Would he want to be kept on life support or allowed to pass away naturally?
When her friend passed, his family wondered if they made the right choice. “Everyone tried to do the best for him but it wasn’t clear what he would’ve wanted because the conversation never happened,” Makowski said.
We at Passare encourage you to have the End-of-Life conversation before it gets to this point. Remember, discussions don’t always have to be about medical care. Some conversations can be more philosophical and based on your beliefs. The important thing is to start the conversation now so your doctor and family are aware of your wishes.
Read the story here.