I know the subject line of today’s blog makes no sense so I will clarify it here: Tomorrow, the HAN website will be offline getting some much needed updating. We still have phone and email though! So we will still be here, working hard for you.
And now for the meat: The Dallas Morning News published an interesting Q&A with Dr. Atul Gawande in their Sunday Points section yesterday. They had promoted Dr. Gawande’s Being Mortal in their 2015 Points Summer Book Club. The article is worth a read, but I wanted to point out what I felt was one of the most important points.
Dr. Gawande reliably promotes the idea of planning for treatment. He tells this short story:
“I tell the story of the father of one of my colleagues who said: “If I can eat chocolate ice cream and watch football on television, that is worth living for. But take that away, and it’s not.” That’s like the best living will ever. It was very clear what he wanted and what mattered most and what he wanted treatment to preserve for him.”
Dr. Gawande specifically enumerates the questions that patients should be asked by their doctors:
- What’s your understanding of where you are with your illness or your health at this time?
- What are your fears and worries for the future?
- What are your goals and priorities if your health worsens?
- What are you willing to go through and what are you not willing to go through in seeking treatment for more possible time?
These are the types of questions that should be addressed in all advanced care planning discussions. As Congress awakens from their sleepy August recess and prepares to get back to work, stay tuned for information on the Senate Care Planning Act, and a companion bill in the House. I hope you have been working on your congressional relationships over recess, so we can start pushing these important bills through Congress this fall!