Mother is dying and my family is grieving. My 82 year old Mother has
terminal cancer. Her oncologist called the aggressive radiation and
chemotherapy that she receives, "palliative treatment.” I’m not sure my
parents understand that "palliative” is code for "no hope” nor does my
family understand that the cancer treatments will accelerate her decline
into dementia. I know that my Mother’s doctors care about her but
still…my family grieves and seeks understanding.
This year, as the 2009 Collaborative Family Healthcare Meeting arrives,
I am thinking about my family and why I became interested in CFHA many
years ago at Wingspread:
An organization that promotes comprehensive biopsychosocial care.
An interdisciplinary group of health professionals committed to creating a more holistic model of care.
Healthcare professionals who pay attention to patients’ mental health needs, not just their physical needs.
Physicians and therapists who recognize the critical role of family members in supporting family members’ health.
components of the shared vision that inspired the creation of CFHA have
new meaning as the United States urgently debates how healthcare should
be delivered and who should pay. What will be included in the medical
home? How does globalization affect healthcare delivery in the United
States and around the world? What supports and procedures do families
need as they care for their ill or dying members? These are a few of
the questions that I look forward to discussing at the conference in San
Diego this year. While I always have a professional interest in the
stimulating debates that occur at CFHA, I anticipate that this year, I
will be thinking about my own family and hoping that my CFHA colleagues
continue to search for new ways to deliver cost effective,
comprehensive, humanistic care.