Health

Palliative, hospice care discussed in new MedQuarter event

April 16 workshop on living wills, power of attorney

Dr. James Bell, hospice and palliative care physician at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids. (Photo courtesy of the MedQuarter Regional Medical District)
Dr. James Bell, hospice and palliative care physician at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids. (Photo courtesy of the MedQuarter Regional Medical District)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — When diagnosed with a life-limiting — or even life-ending — illness, some are left dealing with choices.

For some, questions could include, do I go through chemotherapy, or do I enjoy the time I have now? If I am incapable of advocating for myself, is there an official document outlining my wishes?

Cedar Rapids health care professionals hope to help residents understand the importance of having these conversations with loved ones early on, in the latest Speak Up Series: End of Life Planning presentation and workshop, set for April 16.

The MedQuarter Regional Medical District started the end-of-life-planning series this past fall.

“We want people to know when it’s time for that conversation, we can have that conversation,” said Dr. James Bell, UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s physician. “You don’t want to wait until things are in a panicky, meltdown mode to start making those decisions.”

The April 16 event will include a presentation on palliative and hospice care as well as a workshop on advanced health care directives — a legal document stating an individual’s choices for care during chronic or terminal illness.

The presentation will be given by Bell and Dr. Ken Cearlock, a physician at Mercy Medical Center.

Bell will discuss palliative care, an approach to medical and nursing care for people with life-limiting illnesses. It deals with choices on serious treatments like chemotherapy and dialysis — and specifically, what those mean in the bigger perspective.

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“We’re not taking people into end of life care, it’s quality-of-life care,” Bell said.

Hospice deals with end-of-life care, which will be discussed during the April 16 event by Cearlock.

Following the presentation, attendees can participate in a workshop on legal documents, such as living wills.

The workshop also will delve into designating a power of attorney to continue advocating for end-of-life care.

“If (an individual) is going into a long-term care facility, they need to have someone they trust who is going to continue to advocate for the decisions they have made,” Cearlock said.

Seating at the workshop will be limited, and registration is required.

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

If you go

• What: Speak Up Series: End-of-Life Planning

• Where: First Lutheran Church, 1000 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids

• When: Presentation at 6:30 p.m., workshop session at 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

• Registration: (319) 365-1494 or online at themedq.com/speakup

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