Goals, Difficult Discussions, Involvement Key to End-of-Life Care
February 15, 2013 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance
Identifying the resident's goals, having difficult discussions, strengthening care transitions, and involving residents and family members in care planning are critical to high-quality end-of-life care, according to Joanne Lynn, M.D., a geriatrician and hospice physician and director of the Altarum Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness. As reported in an article in the February 2013 Caring for the Ages, Lynn believes that it is important to discuss what matters most to the person. "People differ significantly in their goals," Lynn says. "I had a couple of older fellows who wanted to make sure they were well sedated so that they didn't babble a name from a long-lost affair. I had another resident who wanted to die outdoors." Another key is to plan ahead. Physicians and staff should know not just whether the resident would want to be transported to the hospital in case of emergency but also what services or limitations on services they want, which physicians they want involved, and other issues.