November 27, 2017

Palliative care for Alzheimer's patients

If Alzheimer's disease is touching the life of someone you know, as a patient or a caregiver, please take a few moments to read this post about the potential role of palliative care in a treatment plan for Alzheimer's. GET PALLIATIVE CARE website.

Palliative care is not just for end of life--it can provide needed support for the symptoms of a disease, as well as aiding the patient and caregivers with decision making.

November 10, 2017

National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

Quiz time:  Do you know the difference between hospice care and palliative care? Here's a hint: One is for people who are nearing the end of life and the other is for anyone dealing with discomfort caused by serious disease symptoms or the side effects of treatment.

That's right, all hospice care is palliative care but not all palliative care is hospice. Many of us (close to most of us) have had a loved one pass away while in the care of hospice. Its focus is  on helping the patient have a dignified and comfortable end of life, as well as caring for the needs of loved ones.  All that "comfort" care? That's the palliative part.

This month is a good time to become familiar with what your health care community offers for both options. Ask your friends and health care providers who they recommend and consider taking a tour if there is a residential hospice facility nearby.

"The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,"  John Kennedy

As for the angels who work in hospice and palliative care:  God bless you, one and all.

October 26, 2017


Beginning at 7:00 a.m. CST on Friday, October 27, the Kindle e-book of THE 60-MINUTE GUIDE TO HEALTH LITERACY will be just $2.99. BUT (isn't there always a "but"?), the price goes up $2.00 each day until it returns to $9.99 on Tuesday, October 31. (Sort of a reverse Dutch auction.)

If you prefer a print book, consider Amazon's "MATCHBOOK" option: you can buy the print book for $14.99 and get a Kindle e-book download for just $2.99 more any day. (A gift for someone else and a gift for you?)

"The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining."
John F. Kennedy

October 15, 2017

Cedar Rapids, Iowa has it going on

I had the unique pleasure of attending the first in the Cedar Rapids MedQuarter's "Speak Up! Series" on Advance Care Planning on October 5th. I'm not sure Des Moines could get 300 people to come out on a dark fall night to learn about death and dying--but Cedar Rapids did.  And well worth their time, because the speaker was Dr. B. J. Miller, who you may know from his Ted Talk or his appearance on Oprah's Soul Series. Dr. Miller, a palliative care and hospice physician, shared a frank and inspiring perspective on how we view the end of life in America.

I'm proud to say I will be co-presenting the second event in this series on Thursday, November 2, with retired internist Dr. William Galbraith. To have both legal and medical perspectives on the same stage at the same time is rare indeed and I know the audience will put us to the test.

To see B. J. MIller's Ted Talk, click here:  B. J. Miller's TED Talk.

To learn more about the MedQuarter's "Speak Up! series," click here:  Speak Up! Series on Advance Care Planning.  

Oh, and the MedQuarter itself is a fascinating collaboration of health care providers and the faith community that is a jewel in Iowa's crown.  Check it out:  Cedar Rapids' MedQuarter

October 4, 2017


What's essential to being an empowered patient, a decisive health care proxy or an engaged health care professional? Health Literacy.

My newest book,
THE 60-MINUTE GUIDE TO HEALTH LITERACY has the tools you need to become fully informed about:
▪ Choosing a health care provider
▪ Scheduling preventive care
▪ Using medications responsibly
▪ Reacting properly to an emergency
▪ Making respectful and informed end-of-life decisions.
The Kindle version is fully-linked, so you can access up-to-date health care information anytime you need it.
If you don't already know it, managing health care for yourself or a loved is a challenging journey.

September 3, 2017

Palliative care: The most misunderstood medical term

There was a worthwhile guest editorial in the Des Moines Register a few days ago contributed by my friend, Dr. Yogesh Shah, directive of Palliative Care at Broadlawns Medical Center, and David P. Lind, President of Heartland Health Research Institute.

A crucial part of health literacy is understanding the distinction between terms such as "palliative care" and "hospice care."  Take a moment to read this essay and add a nugget to your wealth of health literacy resources:   "A Better Iowa" in The Des Moines Register.