The following message is an essay by Michael D. Fratkin, MD on the need for end-of-life planning and compassionate care.
When we hear that we have a terrible illness that will shorten our life, it’s personal. When we learn about the benefits and trade-offs of the tests and procedures that will decide what treatments and medicines may help us, it’s personal. As we make our way through side effects, complications, insurance plans, phone calls, waiting rooms, pharmacies, labs, radiology departments, billing departments, emergency rooms, intensive care units, medical jargon, bad news, good news, family conflict, family meetings, caregivers, nursing homes, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychotherapy, medication lists, medication interactions, medication errors, advance directives, wills, and the many losses, it’s personal.
Our living and dying are not medical. While it’s a natural truth that we all die, the last chapter of life is better centered in our homes and with our families.
We need guidance, not guidelines. As we face to hardest challenge there is, we want to be seen as we see ourselves…as the people we are with the people that love us. We want to chart our own course on our own terms. We want healthcare providers that understand that we are not malfunctioning machines, exploitable consumers, or anything less than people like they are. We want to get the most possible benefit from medical technology and we need help to avoid the many pitfalls our fragmented and complex healthcare system.
ResolutionCare is just such a team of professionals providing such care to people in their homes, and sharing this perspective to improve care wherever people with serious illness seek value in our healthcare system.