Difficult choices for patient care are increasingly made outside the hospital walls. Patients may be at home or in long-term care facilities. The decisions aren't any easier in those settings than when the patient is hospitalized, but there is definitely less help available in the community to assist families and professionals in exploring ethical questions related to patient/resident care. As a certified healthcare ethics consultant (HEC-C)* who works in the long-term care community, I offer support to you and your patients/residents and patient families.
*What is a certified healthcare ethics consultant? This is a relatively new certification for practicing bioethicists. A bioethicist is a healthcare professional who focuses on the ethical dilemmas in medicine and medical research. A bioethicist typically has either a Ph.D. in bioethics or an underlying terminal degree (MD - medical doctor, JD - attorney, PhD in philosophy, nursing, theology, social work, medical humanities) plus a graduate degree or certificate in bioethics. In my case, I have a law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and practiced for many years as an elder law attorney, where I worked with capacity issues and guardianship, powers of attorney, cases of elder abuse and financial exploitation, Wills and trusts and the probate of estates. I then obtained a master's degree in bioethics and health care policy from the Neiswanger Institute of the Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago. In addition to the underlying educational requirements, bioethicists must have extensive ethics consultation and teaching experience before they are allowed to sit for a national examination given by our primary professional organization, the American Society for Bioethics & Humanities (ASBH). Upon passing that exam, a bioethicist is credentialed as an HEC-C, Healthcare Ethics Consultant - Certified.
In partnership with Faith Presbyterian Hospice and the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center in Dallas, TX, we offered a 3-part lunch 'n 'learn series for long-term care professionals on the appropriate use of antipsychotic medications in older patients. Charlotte Huffman, investigative reporter from WFAA in Dallas, presented her research on antipsychotic use in care facilities in April 2019. In May, Dr. Jessica Voit, a geriatrician from UT Southwestern Medical Center, spoke to us about antipsychotic medications, the good and bad, and about ways to investigate the underlying causes of troubling behaviors. In June, Natalie Kunkel of Surpass Senior Living presented nonpharmaceutical measures to help patients with anxiety and agitation. We thank our three excellent speakers for an extremely informative series.
Aging with a Plan: at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Rooms 207/209, Denton, TX, from 11:45 am to 1:45 pm on February 9, 16 and 23, 2020, light lunch included. Church members and the public are welcome, but please call 972-809-0247 for more info and to register. Topics include:
Week 1: An overview of services and the types of care available for older adults, both in their own homes and in care facilities, the costs of that care and ways families might pay for it (LTC insurance, Medicaid, VA).
Week 2: A discussion of legal options - financial and medical powers of attorney, advance directives, guardianship, Wills/trusts and probate.
Week 3: End of life issues and options; funeral planning (from traditional to becoming a paperweight or part of a tree).
In partnership with Faith Presbyterian Hospice and the T. Boone Pickens Hospice & Palliative Care Center, I am developing a series of lunch 'n learn presentations for April 1, May 6 and June 3, 2020, with continuing education credits. These programs are still in development, but tentative topics are Patient Secrets, Conflict Resolution Techniques for Health Care Professionals, and Ins & Outs of Powers of Attorney: Powers and Responsibilities of Surrogate Decision-makers.
In partnership with Faith Presbyterian Hospice and the T. Boone Pickens Hospice & Palliative Care Center, I am developing a half-day conference with a tentative date of October 9, 2020, with topics to include aging statistics, ageism and the Villages concept.
For more info on upcoming ethics educational programs, contact us at email@example.com.
Agenda for upcoming meeting:
2. Medical Secrets - What do you do when a patient/client confides a medical secret that may have implications for other clients, staff or the client's family, and then asks you not to tell anyone? What are your duties to your client/patient and your duties to family, staff and the community? How do you handle these sensitive requests?
Denton Committee 2020 dates:
1/14, 2/11, 3/10, 4/14, 5/12, 6/9, 7/14, 8/11, 9/8, 10/13, 11/10 - no meeting in December
Dallas Committee 2020 dates:
1/28, 2/25, 3/24, 4/28, 5/26, 6/23, 7/28, 8/25, 9/22, 10/27 - no meetings in November or December
Are you a senior care professional in the Dallas-Forth Worth metro interested in participating in one of our regional long-term care ethics committees? Please contact us for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org.