Aug 22 2013

The Importance of Setting Goals

One of my new favorite bloggers is John Carney, president and CEO of the Center for Practical Bioethics, who has started blogging over at GeriPal, a blog dedicated to discussion of geriatrics and palliative care.

In one of his latest posts, John talks about how patient-centered care can’t happen if the doctor doesn’t learn from and talk to the person receiving treatment, particularly when the person has several chronic conditions. How should doctors make decisions about treatment goals, especially when treating one chronic condition that might exacerbate another?

“What factors should be weighed? Is watchful waiting a good option? What aboutadherence to regimens if the patient has dementia? What are the most importantaspects of their lives? These questions need to be raised by patients, by families andthoughtful practitioners. And in raising them, we need to craft responses that reflectvalues, preferences and goals that clearly matter to them; not what’s clinicallyexpedient or meets some prescribed pathway.”

We couldn’t agree more; people who help their doctors understand their goals will receive better, more personalized treatment. That is at the core of why we started MyDirectives. Advance medical directives and the discussion guide on this website empower people to explain in plain English their goals for treatment. Use our video messaging feature to make sure your plan is just that: YOURS.

In his post, John is reminding us how important it is for doctors to know their patient’s goals – especially in the kinds of complicated medical situations advance medical directives were designed to help address.  It all boils down to this:

“Folks who share an investment in achieving a shared outcome, work harder together toget it. We just might find that we’re a lot more successful in achieving goals “for”patients if we could see that achieving goals “with” them was a pre-requisite for success.”

John, you are so right!  Keep up the blogging – we’ve got years of thinking about this topic to adjust to the 21st century.  I hope more people hear your message and will be inspired to plan ahead and make their goals clear.


Advance Medical Directives Palliative Care

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