LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 11, 2017) – The middle of a health care crisis can be the worst possible time to make legal and medical decisions for yourself or for the care of a loved one, yet that is often the case when complex decisions about care have not been made ahead of time. The physical and emotional impact of accidents and acute illness can make what is no doubt a very stressful situation even more stressful, making it difficult to make sound decisions.
"People should participate early in advanced care planning and designate a health care surrogate who will carry out their health care treatment wishes when they are not able to," said Debra Gleason, transitional care leader-palliative care at UK HealthCare. “It always seems too early, until it’s too late.”
National HealthCare Decision Day (NHDD) is April 16, 2017 and is a 50-state annual initiative that works through providers and facilities to provide clear, concise, and consistent information on advanced care planning and end-of-life decisions, and the tools and resources to make the process easier.
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses with the goal of improving quality of life for both patient and family. UK provides inpatient palliative care consultations. The team of doctors, nurses, social workers, and chaplains provide an extra layer of support that focuses on relief of symptoms, pain, and stress of serious illness; whatever the diagnosis.
“It starts with a conversation,” Gleason said. “What a conversation can provide is a shared understanding of what is important to you. Advanced care planning is more than just completing a document. It’s the process of conversation and planning.”
Events planned April 16 – 22 in observance of NHDD include:
- Exhibits in Pavilion A with information on advanced care planning from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 16 and April 18.
- The Patient Education Library located in Pavilion A will provide advanced directive materials and continuous showings of the Frontline documentary Being Mortal.
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue