PHOENIX, Nov. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Mention the words "hospice" and "palliative care" and patients and their families and even many physicians themselves experience anxiety, associating both with end-of-life issues. Now that Medicare intends to reimburse physician for end-of-life counseling beginning in 2016, we all need to resolve to become more comfortable with end-of-life conversations. Although the terms palliative care and hospice care are often used interchangeably, providing sharp distinctions between the two would be beneficial for patients, caregivers and health-care providers, according to emergency medicine physician Kevin Haselhorst. He says it is easier to talk about the end of life occurring in stages and the need for appropriate medical care at each stage.
Haselhorst's aim is to spark a discussion on this important topic during National Hospice and Palliative Care Month; it is an issue that Haselhorst had struggled with as an ER doctor. He says, "I never realized the true meaning of palliative care amidst the harried practice of emergency medicine. The pressure being placed on me to do more often becomes the same expectation I place on patients to receive more treatment." His views began to change after conversations with his patients pinpointed the need to create smoother transitions, offering peace of mind for families coping with incurable illness.
He can talk about:
- Why he now offers patients more while erring on the side of doing less, averting more physician imposition while lessening patient obligation.
- How the health-care system needs to even things out between promoting palliative care as a medical specialty and defining it as a humanitarian resource.
- Tips for making a loved one's life-threatening illness into a life-transforming spiritual undertaking.
- The important conversation that should be taking place across Thanksgiving tables this year.
- Why he believes advance care planning would do well to focus less on life-prolonging end-of-life care and more on palliative care.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Haselhorst is an emergency medicine physician affiliated with Abrazo Health Care in Phoenix. He is the author of Wishes to Die For, an introspective guide to advance care planning that draws from the heart's desire for compassion, innate harmony, healing presence and unconditional love. More information is available at KevinHaselhorst.com
AVAILABILITY: Phoenix, nationwide by arrangement and via telephone
CONTACT: Kevin Haselhorst, 480-907-6027; Email
SOURCE Kevin Haselhorst