President’s Report

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Dear Friends,

Sincerest of thanks to those joining our campaign to Learn Give Thanks and Resolve during our first #GivingTuesday.

Last week, we had close to $17K to secure by the end of the year. This week, we have just a little more than $14K to go to reach our goal defined by a MR Bauer Foundation matching grant. Progress!

The deadline is December 31st, and we hope you take the opportunity today to make your year-end charitable contributions. Then, we can continue to empower others to define, communicate and document their end of life preferences throughout the coming year.

Ready to join us?

The Institute of Medicine recently published some reasons why our work is so essential. The independent, non-partisan organization’s new report, Dying in America, highlighted recommendations for remedying the crisis of end of life care in our communities. As much as we want to be in control of decisions about our own care, too many factors can work against realizing our desire.

More than a quarter of adults, including those aged 75 and older, have given little or no thought to their end of life wishes, and even fewer have captured these wishes in writing or through a conversation. This is despite the results of recent polls showing Americans worry about the potential high costs of care near the end of life, and the desire not to be a burden- financial or otherwise- on family members.

What did the Institute of Medicine suggest be done about it?

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT AND EDUCATION.

Great! Because that is exactly what we have been doing, throughout our community and online.

Ready to join us now?

Here’s what the report specifically recommended:

  • Use appropriate media and other channels to reach audiences and underserved populations ✔
  • Encourage meaningful dialogue among individuals and their families, caregivers and clinicians about values, care goals and preferences related to advanced serious illness ✔
  • Provide information about care options and informed decision-making regarding treatment and care ✔

We are on the right track, and we intend to stay there. We need your support to ensure 2015 will be one of expanded engagement and education.

Here are some photos of LMM in action lately:

And if you haven’t visited lifemattersmedia.org in the past week or so, here are some timely articles- and local ones for our Chicago-area friends.

Hospice Leads To Better Care, Lower Costs At End Of Life: JAMA By Daniel Gaitan

Terminally ill patients enrolled in hospice care have lower rates of hospitalization, intensive care unit admission and invasive procedures at the end of life, according to an extensive new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Hospice patients also incur significantly lower medical costs than non-hospice patients.

American Medical Association Opposes “Death With Dignity,” Despite Calls For Legalization By Daniel Gaitan

Despite calls for legalization from a growing number of proponents and others who came to support physician-assisted suicide in the wake of the high-profile death of Brittany Maynard, the American Medical Association remains firmly opposed to such policy.

Chicago Initiative Helps Improve Palliative Care, Increase Providers By Daniel Gaitan

As millions of baby boomers age and face painful chronic diseases, a new initiative is working to bolster the number of palliative care providers in the U.S. The Coleman Palliative Medicine Training Program in Chicago aims to improve the quality of palliative medicine while increasing a trained national workforce of physicians, nurses and social workers.

“Elderspeak”: Words Can Hurt By Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

As the plot unfolded in the season premiere of HBO comedy, Getting On, I noticed the excessive use of “toddlerspeak” directed at elderly patients within the community hospital’s hospice unit. Whenever a physician or nurse was speaking to a patient, they tended to use baby talk—with a high pitch, lilting tone, longer space between words, elongated space around vowels, and simple, shortened words.


If you would rather support us by mail, here’s how to reach Life Matters Media:

517 N. Racine Unit 2
Chicago, IL 60642

Thanks so much for making our work possible. We wish you the happiest of holidays.

Warmly,

Randi Belisomo
President and Co-Founder