Hospice of Michigan Program Is "Just What the Doctor Ordered" To Empower Consumers

Thursday, May 19, 2011 General News
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"Have You Had the Talk?™" Toolkit Facilitates End-of-Life Discussions for Physicians, Caretakers and Patients


19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 2008 presidential campaign introduced a debate on an unexpected topic: physician/patient conversations on end-of life options. The debate intensified in 2010 as lawmakers drafted health care reform legislation,
and Americans began to worry about how changes would affect them should they ever be diagnosed with a terminal illness.

In the May 19 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, two physicians weigh in on New York State's 2011 "Palliative Care Information Act" that requires physicians to provide patients with counseling on their options at the end-of-life. Alan B. Astrow, M.D., and Beth Popp, M.D., agree that there is a real need to provide end-of-life information and improve education to physicians, however they believe the complexity of end-of-life issues requires a comprehensive and dynamic approach that is better negotiated through relationships than through law.  

Hospice of Michigan, the largest hospice provider in Michigan, believes the debate brings necessary attention to end-of-life care and the needs of terminally ill patients and their families. When faced with a terminal diagnosis, patients benefit from honest, compassionate conversations with their physicians and proactive planning and discussions with their families about options and wishes.  

Hospice of Michigan understood early on that physicians were the key to improving end-of-life care for all Americans, and began offering educational programs to physicians and health care professionals through its education and research center – The Maggie Allesee Center for Quality of Life. Among its educational offerings are Physician Fellowships in Hospice and Palliative Care in partnership with Wayne State University Medical School and Michigan State University School of Medicine.

"At Hospice of Michigan, we know from 30 years of experience with thousands of individuals and their families that physicians are trusted advisers, and that patients want to be the decision makers as long as possible," said Dottie Deremo, president and CEO of Hospice of Michigan.  "We created programs for physicians to enhance education on end-of-life care, and tools to empower patients and families. We believe that quality care at the end of life is essential, and patients deserve the best our medical system can offer."

To empower consumers to plan for and control health care decision making, Hospice of Michigan developed a toolkit called Have You Had the Talk?™  It provides a thorough guide for decision-making related to end-of-life wishes, a central place to document medical history, organize physician contacts, legal documents, and tips for starting the conversation with loved ones.  Hospice of Michigan trains speakers and conducts workshops and seminars on Have You Had the Talk?™ Groups wishing to learn more about the seminars and work shops may call: 888-247-5701 and ask for Cynthia Pimm.

The "Have You Had the Talk?" toolkit may be ordered by calling 313-578-5041 or it can be downloaded free from www.haveyouhadthetalk.com.

Link to New York State's 2011 "Palliative Care Information Act" text

Link to New York State's 2011 "Palliative Care Information Act" summary


Hospice of Michigan was founded in 1980, and was the State of Michigan's first hospice program. Serving 54 counties in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, Hospice of Michigan is the largest hospice in the state – serving the largest geographic area and the greatest number of patients. It was started as a volunteer program by individuals who wished to bring a more compassionate and individualized approach to the care of terminally ill patients. Hospice of Michigan successfully worked with Congressional Representatives to establish hospice care as a paid benefit through Medicare.

Hospice of Michigan is a non-profit, community-based organization with a mission to serve all who need and seek care regardless of their age, diagnosis or ability to pay. It raises $4 million annually to cover the cost of care for the uninsured, the under-insured, and innovative programs that advance end-of-life care for all Americans. Through its research and education arm – The Maggie Allesee Center for Quality of Life – Hospice of Michigan provides education programs for physicians, nurses, aides, and the community, and applies research outcomes to improve care and enhance quality of life for the patient and family and the team that supports them.

Media Information:

Hospice of Michigan Spokespersons are available for interviews on hospice care, end-of-life issues, physician training in hospice and palliative care, and in response to the article: "The Palliative Care Information Act in Real Life" published in the May 19 issue of  The New England Journal of Medicine.

Contact:Tracy LarkHospice of Michigan313-578-5041tlark@hom.orgorAnne Cable313-832-4382

SOURCE Hospice of Michigan

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