FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Executive Director, Communications and Public Relations
From Medscape Medical News
March 10, 2011 - To underscore the importance of National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16, San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine encourages individuals to engage in conversations with their family, friends and healthcare providers regarding future healthcare decisions, including beliefs about end-of-life care.
“What matters most to patients when thinking about healthcare decisions are the outcomes they most hope for,” said Kathleen Pacurar, SDHIPM President and Chief Executive Officer. “Talking with your loved ones about your deeply held goals and values can prepare them for making the best possible in-the-moment medical decisions in the event you cannot make them for yourself.”
SDHIPM acknowledges starting a conversation about end-of-life wishes can be challenging and supports the use of advance care planning tools, such as “Go Wish” cards. Developed by Elizabeth Menkin, MD, Clinical Medical Director at The Institute for Palliative Medicine and San Diego Hospice, and Coda Alliance, “Go Wish” cards are an easy, entertaining exercise that facilitates end-of-life care conversations.
Each “Go Wish” card displays a wish or goal commonly felt to be important in the last weeks or months of life, such as “To have close friends near.” The individual sorts the cards into three stacks to identify how important each item is to him or her. The individual then discusses with their loved ones the sentiments on each card and where they fall in order of importance.
“Not only do patients benefit from discussing their wishes, but “Go Wish” cards help their loved ones feel more confident making future decisions on their behalf, if necessary,” said Dr. Menkin. “Knowing that choices have certain consistency but are not etched in stone helps the patients’ loved ones feel they may have some leeway in making future decisions.”
SDHIPM is also pleased to announce “Go Wish” cards are now available in Spanish and includes cultural-specific messaging about end-of-life wishes. “Translating “Go Wish” cards in Spanish is one more way we are committed to helping every person engage in conversations about future healthcare decisions,” said Dr. Menkin.
About San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine
San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine (www.sdhospice.org) is one of the largest community-owned, not-for-profit hospices in the country, bringing compassionate, expert medical care to more than 1,000 seriously ill adults and children each day throughout San Diego County since 1977. In addition to patient care, The Institute for Palliative Medicine at San Diego Hospice (www.palliativemed.org) is internationally recognized for its innovative education programs, patient/family-centered research and evidence-based advocacy since 1989. The Institute for Palliative Medicine trains more than 4,000 healthcare professionals each year in the advances in hospice and palliative care. For more information, call toll-free at 1-866-688-1600. ###