Sunday, August 23, 2009

Public Debate Over Reform Spilling into Family Meetings?

But I'm Still Just a BillImage by cafourek via Flickr

Can you tell I missed not having a soap box to talk about the (mis)representation of advance care planning in the House of Representative Health Care Reform Bill? Regardless of your politics on the whole reform matter, if you are an advocate for good palliative care you have to be aware of the public discussion getting out of hand, because if 'palliative care', 'hospice', 'advance care planning', 'living wills' get tied as buzz words to 'rationing' or 'Obamacare' our field will have to fight even more stigma to even have the ability to care for patients.

Have any of you had the discussions with patients or families that referenced/connected your work to 'death panels' or other 'government intrusion' type comments? If so please leave them in the comments.

I have had not heard many, but the one I recall was an out-of town relative who was having trouble accepting the patient's progressive illness in general who asked if the palliative care team was part of 'big brother watching' because 'it is all about money.' The other family members were able to redirect and make a cogent argument about quality not necessarily equaling money spent if the goals were not right.

Some physician peers have commented they hope we (palliative care and hospice) don't get too beat up over this. But I have not had any other staff

What have you heard? Or not heard? Form patients, families, other medical staff?

Do you feel the AAHPM, NHPCO, and other organizations are doing the right things with this recent controversy? What else should we do as a community?
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