This blog has been on hold for a good while now as a result of life circumstances, despite best intentions. On the day of my last post, my very elderly father took a fall which caused a brain injury from which he ultimately succumbed. Although he had declined considerably in the preceding months, and had recently acknowledged that he might need to make a change in his living arrangements, he continued as his fiercely independent self and fell on his walk to the grocery store. The previous day I had attended the 2012 Northwest Patient Safety Conference , including the excellent workshop Safe Passage: Opportunities to Reduce Harm While Providing Care at the End of Life by Hope Wechkin, MD, Medical Director of Evergreen Hospice and Palliative Care. Although the topic has long been of both personal and professional interest to me, I had no idea then how very valuable her practical advice would be as I dealt with negotiating my dad’s “safe passage.” My only regret about his last weeks is the time that I had to spend dealing with bureaucracies instead of being at his side.
But despite all my background and almost a decade of experience as Dad’s point person & caregiver, I had to be extremely assertive to get him a palliative care referral and then a hospice referral. Never once did the medical staff ever mention these subjects, despite my father’s condition. Once on board, the palliative care team ,and later the hospice nurses, were excellent. It’s a sad commentary indeed on our broken system that these services are not offered routinely.
My plans for the blog this year are to continue to offer news and commentary on topics and issues that may not be getting so much attention in the general media.