HOW OUR WHY WILL SHAPE OUR HOW
by Patti Moore
Simone Sinek, author of the book Start With Why, wrote that companies that deeply understand why they are in business are much more effective and last longer than those that just want to produce a product. He used the Wright brothers as an example. The Wright brothers were not well funded, nor did they have college degrees; they owned a bicycle shop. But they had a deep belief that if they could make their ship fly, it would change the world - and that dream of flight drove them. Meanwhile, Samuel Pierpont Langley, a contemporary of the Wright brothers, was also trying to be the first to fly. The Smithsonian had funded him, and the New York Times followed his exploits. He had money to spare and lots of people on his side. But his “why” was to become famous by being the first to master flight. Of course we know the end of that story.
Sometimes it takes a challenge, like being faced with fewer dollars, to push us into being our most creative; we find a way because we must. We are at a point in hospice care and in health care in general where the innovators will be the ones who come up with the new ideas required by this changing financial landscape and by the new generation of hospice patients and their families.
The coming generation of patients wants something different from what their parents wanted. The “greatest generation” was more stoic in their approach to life and death, but the baby boomers’ needs and expectations are very different. They want to know how they can continue to have intimate relationships with others, how to be medicated and not in pain, and they are more open to alternative ways of care beyond straight Western medicine.
Adult daughters are typically making the decisions for both their children and their parents today. These caregivers have done their Internet research and will want to know why you’re not giving Dad the massage therapy that the hospice down the street offers.
How can we best help them? Going forward, we must be much more flexible, much more customer-focused and much more humble. In the past, not many people understood good end-of-life care and we were seen as angels, but that has changed as this generation’s expectations have raised the bar. We in hospice must make sure we are changing along with, and indeed ahead of, our customers to be successful. We must, as Jim Collins
said in his groundbreaking book Built To Last,
“preserve the core and stimulate progress.”
WORTH READING/ WORTH WATCHING:
There’s a lot of talk around having “the conversation” right now; those of us in hospice have long known that good communication is crucial, and nowhere more so than at the end of life, when the wishes of the dying need to be heard and acknowledged.
In our increasingly diverse country, those for whom we care in hospice are very likely to speak a first language other than English – and that presents a unique challenge in communicating at the end of life, when there’s so much that needs to be said with clarity and compassion. California hospices and hospitals are tackling this challenge with specially-trained interpreters.
“At Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, for instance, 68 percent of palliative care patients in 2011 spoke a first language other than English. At San Francisco General Hospital, that number was 45 percent; at Riverside County Medical Center, 33 percent.
“One of the key tenets of palliative care is to have goals-of-care discussions,” O’Malley said. So when patients speak a different language, “How do you do that?”
Journalist Alison Piepmeier passed away recently at 43 from a brain tumor she’d been fighting for seven years – but not before writing this beautiful, moving, thoughtful goodbye to life, brimming with gratitude for the caring and love shown to her and her family at its close.
And one more great piece about end of life conversations and the importance of good communication: What constitutes a good death? Most of us hope to be surrounded by loved ones, or at a favorite place, pain-free and in possession of our dignity and the wisdom we’ve acquired during the journey. Again, creating that ideal scenario begins with having that conversation – and hospice continues to lead the way.
Palliative care expert Dr. David West of HopeWest in Colorado is leading a group of more than 300 physicians in rural Mesa County “to change their approach to medicine and end-of-life care in an unprecedented way… As a goal of the program, physicians will increase in-depth doctor-to-patient conversations about end-of-life care, assist patients with completing advance directives, and introduce palliative care practices earlier in the disease progression for individuals with a serious illness.” Read about this unique program here – and consider doing the same in your community.
September has arrived! The blasting heat of summer is behind us and cool and colorful fall is about to arrive. I am so fortunate to be able to do the work I do. Serving so many people who serve others in profound ways is one of my greatest blessings. September you can find me in Providence, Denver, Titusville and Tallahassee, Washington DC, Ocala and on occasion, my home town of Gainesville, Florida. After all, fall is really about College Football season, so Go Gators!
Tim Tebow is still #1 in Gator Country!!
A MOMENT OF PEACE:
We all have busy lives and often forget to pause and consciously breathe. This section will always include a reminder of Beauty, Peace and Joy. So, pause, take a breath, smile and enjoy!
Sunset at RiverCove Retreat Center
The Watershed Group
Phone: 352-495-2800 | Fax: 352-495-1810
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