In my last show I introduced you to an organization called the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care, or CTAC, a DC based organization dedicated to the ideal that all Americans with advanced illness, especially the sickest and most vulnerable among us, receive comprehensive, high-quality, person- and family-centered care that honors their dignity. A great mission.
In this this episode you will meet more people I had the privilege of interviewing at CTAC’s 2017 annual event: Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle, a husband and wife team, and John Maycroft from Optum. The recordings were made on the spot, so they can be a bit noisy at times, but I think you’ll find their stories inspiring…stories about elder loved ones who have since passed, but not before those elders made important end-of-life choices for themselves. And in the case of Tim and Ramie, that choice led to a grand adventure.
Introducing Tim and Ramie
When Tim’s mother, a widower who had just lost her husband of 67 years, learned she too was soon to die from cancer, she rejected the standard plan of surgery, chemo and all the rest, and clearly told the young doctor, “I’m 90-years-old, I’m hitting the road.” Thus began a long, wonderful journey across America with Tim, his mom Norma, wife Ramie, and poodle Ringo.
I recommend Tim and Ramie’s book “Driving Miss Norma” where you can learn all about their trip, but in this episode of Dance I was curious to learn how caregiving in such a cozy space as an RV affected their marriage, and about the role Ringo played in Norma’s caregiving. So let’s begin this show with Tim, Ramie, and Ringo the dog.
Introducing John Maycroft
Words matter. Which ones we choose, how we use them, and when we use them all have a huge impact on the outcome of our message. So when Optum, an innovative health services company, decided to take on the challenge of choosing which words would best encourage Americans to think through and decide future life preferences, they turned to John Maycroft. I heard John explain Optum’s research at CTAC, and I really appreciated the sensitivity, the dignity and the care woven into the way we all need to have the conversation about end-of-lfe, and the importance of having a solid Advance Care Directive in place, no matter how old we are. Here to talk about it now is John Maycroft.
What you will learn from Tim and Ramie
- How did the trip bring out the best and worst in each other
- What living within eight feet of each other, at all times, affects their relationship
- If the dog could talk, what would he say about what he observed
- How Ringo was a big part of the team, providing safety, companionship and security
- The need for four legged companions
- How Ringo was a huge part of their caregiving, critical to the very end
- Who is the Beatle’s fan? You’ll be surprised
- Ringo, from the Japanese, literally translates to apple, but means bearer of peace
What you will learn from John Maycroft
- How Optum helps make the healthcare system work better for everyone
- What motivated John to become passionate about Advanced Care Planning
- Two planning scenarios: Best and worst case
- John tells the story of how his grandma’s advanced care planning helped the family spend valuable time with her in her last days
- How to ensure EMTs know how to respond in the event of an emergency
- Have the conversation about what your loved one wants, and doesn’t want
- Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) or in some states, MOLST
- What happens if you DON’T have a directive
- The consequences of falling into the one gear of the medical machine and being at their mercy
- The simple steps for starting the conversation
- The Conversation Project, Cake, or Google Advanced Care Planning Tool
- The role of a trusted agent who can navigate the health care system and make decision that are aligned with your wishes
- How you should decide, and how I decided
- Optum’s work on the language that helps people have the conversations
- If you have an Advanced Care Directive…do people know where to find it? Is it up to date?
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