Southern Arizona foundations award nearly $3 million for end-of-life care and planning services to local organizations.
The Lovell Foundation and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona partnered in funding to be used to work with families, couples and individuals to engage in end-of-life conversations through workshops, meetings and appointments. The money also will help to better train physicians, health-care teams and medical students about how to have the discussions with patients.
The Arizona Daily Star quotes John Amoroso, executive director of the David and Lura Lovell Foundation:
We want to fundamentally change the conversation about end-of-life care and planning because it has such an impact on our lives emotionally, spiritually and financially. The dying process has been stretched out because of longevity and medical technology, and so we can linger for years. If we don’t have a clear idea of what our wishes are and have communicated that to our families and our caregivers, then we are at the mercy of the system. We want people to get the care they want, no more, no less.
Read about where and how the resources are being spent in The Arizona Daily Star
At Mass General, Dr. Juliet Jacobsen, a palliative care physician, serves as medical director for the Continuum Project, a large-scale effort to quickly train clinicians to have these difficult conversations, document them and share what they learn with one another. The project ramped up in January with the first session in a series that aims to reach 250 primary care providers at the hospital.
When patients have end-stage diagnoses, fewer than a third of families recall having end-of-life conversations with physicians, a study found.
That’s despite evidence that patients have better quality of life, fewer hospitalizations, more and earlier hospice care and higher satisfaction when they talk to doctors or other clinicians about their values and goals, according to recent research.
Read about the efforts to teach physicians to have end-of-life conversations in Kaiser Health News
End-of-life care is the term used to describe the support and medical care given during the time surrounding death. Such care does not happen only in the moments before breathing ceases and the heart stops beating. Older people often live with one or more chronic illnesses and need a lot of care for days, weeks, and even months before death. The National Institute on Aging has put together 7 articles on related topics that can be linked to from here.
For a guide to advance directives: living wills, healthcare and legal power of attorney visit the AARP site