I recently learned that a dear friend has chosen hospice care over yet another round of debilitating chemotherapy. It was an enormously tough decision for her and her family. She’s not that old (66), and her zest for life is infectious to all who know her.
Thousands of Americans confront this decision every day. Most say they want to die at home, yet 75 percent end up dying in hospitals or nursing homes. More often than not they opt for hospitalization, I believe, because they and their family members are unaware of the risks involved with aggressive, expensive treatments that may rob them of their quality of life. Did you know that such life-prolonging care accounts for 30 percent of total Medicare spending? Astounding!
Now, imagine if you could view short videos that graphically depict what happens when you undergo emergency, life saving measures that risk robbing you of any quality of life and could result in your remaining in a hospital until you die.
These short films demonstrate what goes into such treatments as emergency CPR and breathing tubes. They have undergone rigorous review by leading experts in medicine, geriatrics, oncology, cardiology, ethics, and decision-making. Clinical studies show that patients who have viewed these videos have overwhelmingly opted out of costly, life-prolonging treatment.
Produced by a nonprofit foundation comprising clinicians dedicated to educating patients about their choices for medical care, they are used by 40 healthcare systems throughout the US. One healthcare officer commented that the videos “help physicians, their patients, and their patients’ families address the issues they need to face around end-of-life care, and make more informed decisions.” Another reported that the videos “…ensure that patients have the information they need to be active in shared decision-making, and to help physicians understand patients’ values and preferences so they can arrive at the right decision together.”
For more information check www.acpdecisions.org. ACP Decisions was founded by Drs. Angelo Volandes and Aretha Delight Davis.