Urgent Need to Improve End Of Life Care in US

May 30, 2012, 23:00 ET from International Society of Advance Care Planning and End of Life Care

CHICAGO, May 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As Americans live longer, more generations are being impacted by advanced illnesses, such as Alzheimer's disease, cancer and heart disease. The nation's healthcare system, specifically Medicare, is being used like never before. Many families are enduring unbearable stress and strained relationships as they try to guess what kind of care their loved one wants. The country needs solutions.

Healthcare providers from around the globe are coming together in Chicago from May 31-June 2 to make the case that end-of-life care in the United States can be better, and the status quo must be challenged.

The International Society of Advance Care Planning & End of Life Care (ACPEL) Conference will review and critique public policy that supports or hinders advance care planning; share best-practice advance care planning and end-of-life programs; and offer community engagement strategies for diverse populations.

"End-of-life care and planning is something that will impact every one of us at some point. Unfortunately, America's healthcare system as a whole is not well designed to provide appropriate care to those with advanced illness or support their families," says Dr Bernard Hammes, PhD, director of Respecting Choices(R) at Gundersen Health System.

Dr. Hammes is the ACPEL conference chair, an internationally recognized expert on care for those with advanced illness and the editor of the recently released book, Having Your Own Say: Getting the Right Care When It Matters Most. He points to divisive politics as hindering the country's ability to adopt innovative models of person- and family-centered care that could save the nation tens of billions of dollars, and more importantly, allow people with advanced illness to receive the quality care they want.

"For the thousands of individuals who every day witness a loved one with advanced Alzheimer's, cancer or other serious ailments up close and personal, they know this is not a Republican, Democrat, conservative or liberal issue. This is a family issue," he says, adding, "Until we connect all of our healthcare systems with the needs of the patients and their families, too many American's won't get the care they deserve when faced with the difficulties of advanced illness."

The full conference program is available at http://acpelsociety.com/conference/

To arrange interviews with speakers or organize media accreditation for the conference, contact:
Julie-Anne Davies
+61 413583919

SOURCE International Society of Advance Care Planning and End of Life Care