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  • Writer's pictureHattie Bryant

Quality is a Way of Life

During the first week of the six-week study, I’ll Have it God’s Way, participants do a little soul-searching about what might prevent them from leaving here with grace and ease. Many tell me that they can see that their greatest barrier to relaxing into serious illness or frailty is that they do not want to be a burden to their families.

Part of the solution to this problem is to be willing to move into some type of professionally managed assisted living when care becomes too difficult for family and friends to manage. We also discuss in the class that professionals have many rules governing what they can and can’t do for those in their care. For example, you may lose your appetite, yet professionals are compelled to make sure you receive nutrition.

Now comes a study that shows what my gut has always told me: nursing homes send us to the hospital quicker than would our families.

“…residing in a nursing home was associated with a significant increase in the likelihood of receiving aggressive end-of-life care. Nursing home residents were also significantly more likely to have more than one hospital admission in the last 30 days of life and of dying in the hospital.”

My good friend and veteran nursing home nurse was the first to tell me, “We do not want a patient to die on our watch, so we transfer them to the hospital.” My years of reading on this topic has taught me that no clinician wants death—which is good, yet, this means it is hard for us to just die in place. Much is written about how transferring the seriously ill and frail from one care setting to another causes harm that can often exceed the benefits that the new place might have to offer. It’s almost as if modern medicine considers its high-tech ICU as the ultimate in care.

If the time comes when it is best for you and your loved ones that you move to a professionally managed home, make sure your instructions about how want to be cared for when you cannot speak for yourself are very, very specific. If you’ve taken my class, you know I suggest a DNH-Do Not Hospitalize--when the quality of your life is no longer acceptable to you. This is personal. You get to define quality. Me? I want to be able to recognize and communicate with any person who is part of my life. Oh and for sure I want to be able to chew and swallow crunchy chocolate chip cookies.

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