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The Conference Will Be Personal This Year

Posted By JoEllen Patterson, Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Updated: Thursday, June 09, 2011

My 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.

These 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.

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