Archive for Patient’s Wishes – Page 2

Where Do You Want to be Buried?

Where Dad is buried.

Where Dad and Mom were buried.

Will it be a slender plot of earth in a cemetery? Or ashes scattered?

My father-in-law’s ashes are buried under a mature shade tree in a church retreat center. Before those acres were developed for future kids and adults, he had been one of the key people on a committee to walk the property and recommend its purchase. Visiting his “final resting place” often means joining others who are playing together, strengthening their faith, and having a darn good time away from home for a week at camp.

Where do you want to be buried?

A member in a Wisconsin congregation left explicit directions about burial in the family plot at a tiny cemetery out in the country. He wanted a brief graveside service. And he’d begged his family: get me in the ground as soon as possible. He died in a January. As his pastor, I recall we delayed the service for several cold, cold moments because of a recent storm. The backhoe had struggled to break through the new snow and frozen ground to dig the grave. But he got his wish.

Where do you want to be buried? Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Hospice and 86 Bucks

blog-patient-doctor-communicationWhat is 30 minutes of your time worth?

For a physician meeting a patient covered by Medicare, that half-hour may be worth $86.00 in reimbursements.

Eighty-six bucks. For what?

Something remarkable is now available as a Medicare benefit. Based on guidelines approved in 2015, a person covered by Medicare can have a reimbursable conversation with their doctor about “advanced care planning,” which could include hospice. This became official in January 2016.

About seven years ago, this $86 physician-patient chat was lambasted as a “death panel,” with a faceless, faithless government discerning who’d die and who’d live. In August of 2009, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin famously (or infamously) warned,

Seniors and the disabled “will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.”

Seven years after the “death panel” headlines (or nonsense, depending on your view of Ms. Palin’s fears), what will the $86 get you? Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Don’t Call 9-1-1

Not long after, a helicopter plucked me from the wilderness . . .

Not long after, a helicopter plucked me from the wilderness . . .

Quick! Call 9-1-1.

  • Heart attack.
  • Car accident.
  • Criminal activity.
  • A lost child.
  • House on fire.
  • Hiker with broken bones.

Put my name by the last one. I busted my leg on a backpack in the 1980s. Several in my group returned to the trailhead—a six-mile slog—and found a phone. They called 9-1-1. Not long after, a helicopter plucked me from the wilderness and flew me to a hospital in Lake Tahoe.

If something bad happens, punch in 9-1-1.

Except if you’re a hospice caregiver or patient: please don’t use those three life-saving numbers. Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather