Health

MedQuarter series featuring discussions of end-of-life care to be highlighted on national call

Conversation Project to feature presentations on end-of-life

MedQuarter’s ongoing discussions on palliative care and end-of-life decision making will be one of three projects featured on a national Community Call presented by the Conversation Project. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
MedQuarter’s ongoing discussions on palliative care and end-of-life decision making will be one of three projects featured on a national Community Call presented by the Conversation Project. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Ninety-two percent of Americans say it’s important to discuss their wishes for end-of-life care, according to a 2018 survey by the Conversation Project. But only 32 percent have had that conversation.

On Wednesday, the MedQuarter Regional Medical District’s ongoing Speak Up discussions on palliative care and end-of-life decision making will be one of three projects featured on a national Community Call presented by the Conversation Project.

A presentation by Dr. Julianne Thomas, a retired pediatrician and recent MedQuarter Commission member, will continue as part of a series of talks and workshops held in 2017 and 2018. Thomas’ talk will be on the differences between hospice and palliative care.

“The goal of the series was to get community engagement to discuss end-of-life planning,” Thomas said. “What kind of care do you want at end of life? Who do you want to speak for you?

“Having a conversation with the person you have designated to be your substitute decision maker is the most important thing you can do.”

The call, from 2 to 3 p.m., also will feature community outreach projects in New Jersey and Tennessee.

“End-of-life planning is important because, if you don’t have your wishes known, it’s possible if you are taken to a hospital you won’t have the type of death you want,” Thomas said.

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“It makes it easier on families because it provides them the assurance that they did what the person wanted.”

Those interested in participating in the free phone call should register online at theconversationproject.org. For those without access to a computer and for audio-only, call 1-866-469-3239, session number 623-534-577.

There will be time for a question-and-answer session after the presentations.

The MedQuarter is a medical district in downtown Cedar Rapids that includes Mercy Medical Center and UnityPoint-St. Luke’s Hospital and the Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa. Three other presentations from the MedQuarter series are available at themedq.com/speakup.

The not-for-profit Community Call, founded in 2010 by syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman and others, is a public-engagement initiative focused helping people see their end-of-life wishes respected.

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