Caregiving is a complicated process. And no area of it is more complex than the subject of quality of life choices and advance directives, those documents that patients can use to determine who is going to make decisions about their care when they no longer can, and just what those decision can—and cannot—be.
Last week I was privileged to be part of a conference for caregivers hosted by the Cancer Center at Hoag Memorial Hospital, Presbyterian in Newport Beach, CA. In a terrific program offered through the hospital’s Palliative Care Services, I found out there’s some new material to share with caregivers on the subject of advance directives and what I’d call care management.
At this particular hospital, Palliative Care extends far beyond the limits of keeping dying patients comfortable. It has become what I consider care management. All patients-- every single person who checks into the hospital for in-patient care-- are offered these services. What that means is that the medical team who are treating the patient, the patient’s caregiver and other family members and the Palliative Care team meet to talk about the full spectrum of the patient’s needs. One of the services the team provides is to help the patient and medical team, along with the caregivers, put together a care plan.