April 17, 2018

National Health Care Decisions Week

It's National Health Care Decisions Week, so you'll hear a lot of noise about planning for the last days or weeks of your life. I'm straying from the pack and declaring that informed health care decision making is a lifelong pursuit, not something you bring out just on your way out.

Shared decision making is the key to being an informed and health literate patient, and that applies to preventive, routine, emergency, and--yes, of course--end-of-life care. My op-ed in the Des Moines Register says it all:  Iowa View on Health Care Decision Making.

April 13, 2018

First-of-its-kind conference on Health Care Advocacy and Literacy

If you are a consumer, caregiver or health care and social services professional, mark your calendar for this unique conference to be held in Marshalltown, Iowa on Thursday, May 17, 2018.  Details on this attached SAVE THE DATE! flyer:  May 17, 2018 ADVOCACY AND HEALTH LITERACY Conference!

Hope to see you there!

April 9, 2018

Is chronic disease part of your health care journey?

The Iowa Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association has a great magazine, Live it! I'm proud to say I have an article on health literacy in the spring issue (page 14): 
Iowa Chapter APDA Live it! magazine.

Informed decision making is a long-term, ongoing challenge for the 117 million Americans with chronic medical conditions such as Parkinson's Disease. Whether you are a patient or a caregiver, please take a few minutes to learn how to make your journey more manageable. 

April 4, 2018

The end of the beginning . . .

Today marks the final installment of my 12-part series, Health Literacy 101, in the Des Moines Register. Big thanks to editors Carol Hunter and James Kramer for taking a chance on me and my idea back in January.

My readers have been engaged and loyal. I've made some new friends and forged new partnerships with health literacy advocates of like mind, so look for exciting opportunities to further the goal of health literacy in the coming months! 
See you soon!

March 26, 2018

I learned a valuable lesson today

One of the building blocks of Health Literacy is learning to recognize the reliable sources needed to be an informed decision maker.

As I read a national health care news feed this morning, I was surprised to learn that Iowa had passed a law allowing anyone to demand to visit a person in a care facility or hospital, as long as the patient doesn't object to the visit.

Turns out, that's just not true. So, without naming names, I will just say that even a source that would usually be considered trustworthy and reliable can get it really wrong. If something seems too good to be true, more often than not, that's because it isn't.  

And I'm not saying this just because I am one, but if you want to know about the law, it's best to ask a lawyer. 

March 16, 2018

Another opioid crisis: There's not enough

In an attempt to address the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic in America, the government ordered a 25 percent reduction in injectable opioid production last year and an additional 20 percent reduction in 2018. Guess what? We now have a shortage of the needed supply for patients who deserve pain relief for surgeries, post-procedure recovery and chronic conditions. It has also resulted in dangerous errors as providers attempt to address their patients' palliative needs with substitute substances and procedures.

This Kaiser Health News update tells the story:  Kaiser Health News - March 16, 2018

Be aware of this potential issue as you advocate for yourself or a loved one.