Take a behind-the-scenes look into the world of DNA with real examples of our values in daily life. Listen in as Senior Program Manager of the DNA Supportive Care Team. Mary Beth Callahan offers her insight into how patients and their families might manage life with chronic disease and explore care options.
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THE SUPPORTIVE CARE TEAM?
A lot can be going through a patient's mind with chronic illness. The Supportive Care Team works to understand the patient's priorities, reliably document their desires for treatment, and align those values with long-term care.
'Supportive care' is purposefully vague; it's flexible. What matters most to a patient may change over time, and care options should change with them. Callahan believes it's most important to be present in conversations about care with patients and remember listening amidst their busy practices.
WHAT IS AN ADVANCE DIRECTIVE?
An advance directive can also be called a living will or health care power of attorney. This power lies in a second person, such as a spouse or family member, who can speak on behalf of a patient who can't speak for themselves. Every patient will have different values regarding their health and quality of life, and an advance directive specifies those treatment options.
Callahan emphasizes the importance of having these conversations early and often so that there's no guesswork to the patient's wishes. The best time to document a medical power of attorney, in her opinion, is tomorrow. Act sooner rather than waiting for a medical emergency to happen later.
HOW DNA IS IMPROVING ADVANCE CARE PLANNING
DNA is fortunate enough to have been a part of the 18-mo Pathways Project, a mentoring program where members of the Supportive Care Team learned that small tests create change. By offering the opportunity to start a conversation, healthcare providers can honor the patient's wishes for treatment.
Callahan hopes that listeners will approach medical care with curiosity, to ask questions and find the answers they need. In addition, she hopes healthcare providers will learn to hold space for their patient's emotions and make those emotions part of the conversation. Shared decision-making is at the core of the Supportive Care Team so that healthcare providers can learn what matters most to a patient and reliably align their treatment with their wishes.
LINKS AND RESOURCES
PREPARE for Your Care website (https://prepareforyourcare.org/en/advance-directive)
Dallas Nephrology Associates’ (DNA) podcast series, Let’s Talk About Kidneys, is provided for general information purposes only and does not replace the need to talk with a healthcare professional about your unique situation, care and options. Our goal is to provide you with as much information as possible so you can be as informed as possible. Reference to any specific product, service, entity or organization does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by DNA.
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