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As we know from the headlines, even if you are perfectly healthy today that can change in an instant. Thousands of people and their families are facing unthinkable choices about medical care, those who did not prepare their “advance directives” ahead of time to state their wishes are at the mercy of fate.
So the TakeCHARGE public health awareness campaign is launching a Video Challenge for members of the public to record and share the conversations they are having around this difficult topic.
Why does this matter? For one example, in 1990 at the age of 26, Terri Schiavo, in a persistent vegetative state following a heart attack, was put on life support. Her wishes regarding her care were unknown and her family members disagreed about how to treat her. The result: 15 years of state and federal court cases before she was finally allowed to die.
Today our hospitals are full of Covid-19 patients on respirators. They can’t speak. Some are dying. Those who have prepared by naming a health care proxy or surrogate, or making a “living will” know that their wishes about their care will be respected. Those who haven’t prepared? Well, their treatment strategy is up to others.
In a Time of Crisis
Long-time patient advocate Ilene Corina, president of Pulse Center for Patient Safety, Education & Advocacy says, “In today’s crisis more than ever, we should ask ourselves:
• Breathing machines – would I want to be put on one?
• Do I want to be resuscitated if my breathing or heartbeat stops
• Do I want feeding through a tube?
• Pain medication?
• Do I want to be part of medical research?
• What about organ or tissue donation?
“If you are over 18,” she adds, “you need to be prepared with your own decisions.”
The Video Challenge
That’s why “TakeCHARGE of Your Health Care”, the new public awareness campaign from Pulse, has issued a “video challenge”.
Says Corina, “To enter, make a video of one minute or less explaining how you persuaded someone you know to complete their advance directives, or how you yourself were named as someone’s health proxy or surrogate. What was that discussion like?”
“Post your video on the TakeCHARGE Campaign Discussion Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/TakeChargecampaign)” says Corina, “and send your friends to Like it. Get the most likes and your video will feature on the TakeCHARGE Campaign website (https://www.takecharge.care/) home page.”
Advance Directives are just the first of five steps the TakeCHARGE campaign urges everyone to take. To learn more visit www.takecharge.care and follow the 5 Steps to Safer Healthcare.