- Clarify medical information. Information is power. The more information a patient has and the better they understand it, the better it is for making decisions.
- Mediate disagreements. Whether a disagreement is between the patient/family and the healthcare team, or within the family, I can help people find common ground and understand each other’s perspectives. With this information, it is much easier to come to an acceptable agreement about care.
- Ease the sharing of information and feelings. I help families share information and help them talk about their feelings, including fear, anger, and sadness.
- Promote health literacy in patients and their families. I help patients and their family members and friends recognize the value of understanding treatment options and the healthcare environment they are dealing with. I help guide them to helpful information.
Advance Care Planning
- Help ensure patients live the best they can until the end of their life. Advance care planning is about living, not dying.
- Encourage advance care planning while people are healthy. When you’re healthy, you can’t anticipate what health challenges may arise, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do advance care planning. It’s easier to define what you want out of life when you are not fearful because of a health crisis. Since advance care planning is an ongoing process, you can develop a framework early doesn’t cause limitations — it opens doors of understanding and creates context without fear. As your health changes (or at any time), advance care planning discussions and communications can change or evolve.
- Aid patients in understanding and clarifying their life and health values, goals, and preferences. Knowing what you value most in life will help you decide what kind of medical care you might want. Using questionnaires and discussion points, I can help you understand your own preferences so you can then base medical decisions on them and on your current health situation. Discussing values, goals, and preferences with your family or some other group is highly effective – once everyone starts talking about their hopes, dreams, joys, and sorrows, talking about what they want out of life and health and death becomes so much easier. People also begin to understand how different they each are and what they each need and want.
- Work with patients and families to clarify values and how they might relate to medical decisions. Though initial care planning is best done when you’re not having a health crisis, care planning can be done at any time. The aim is to provide a concrete baseline from which changes can be made as health changes. If you are in a health crisis, it’s easier to consider and discuss your wishes if you have talked about your values and life goals in the past. Then medical decisions can be related to specifics, rather than just the general concept of wanting to “fight.”
- Ensure values and wishes are communicated to healthcare providers and family members. If you share your values wishes with your family and your doctors, they can help you make decisions or they can make the best decisions for you if you become mentally incapable.