Tag Archives: coronavirus

18 Helpful Resources to Help You Navigate COVID-19

There’s a saying we often use on The Conversation Project team: “never worry alone.” This idiom is meant to encourage one another to express our concerns, if any, and to let our peers know how they can best support one another during challenging times. When we act on this sentiment, our team grows closer and our anxieties often subside. In the wake of COVID-19, we know there are many people who are experiencing different levels of anxiety. Well, we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to worry alone. We’ve compiled a sampling of resources to help you take care of yourself and others during this time. And, as you keep socially connected, we hope these resources will help you think through what matters most to you when it comes to medical care and help you talk about this with those that matter most to you. We hope these resources put your heart at ease.

NEW GUIDE!

With the generous support from the Cambia Health Foundation, The Conversation Project and Ariadne Labs teamed up to create this new tool to help people take action and be prepared. We can’t control how this pandemic plays out. But we can control who speaks for us if we’re unable to speak for ourselves, and we can take the time to make sure they know what matters most to us. Have the conversation today.

Manage Anxiety and Stress

Everyone reacts differently to the emotions surrounding COVID-19. CDC offers tips for coping with stress for the general public, parents, families and children, first responders, and people who have been released from quarantine.

This thoughtful piece highlights IHI’s Pedro Delgado’s reflections on the importance of human connection in a time of necessary physical separation.

Do you have article fatigue? Anxiety about everything going on right now? This is one piece worth putting at the top of your reading list. Great tips for how to process everything swimming around in our heads.

Affording healthy food is a challenge for many older Americans, but the spread of COVID-19 has made matters worse. Whether you’re facing difficult financial times or are unable to leave your home, there are resources from the National Council on Aging that may be able to help

Help for Older Adults and Family Caregivers

As we all work together to ensure the safety of the public, and in particular, older adults and other individuals who are at increased risk from COVID-19, it is important to turn to trusted sources of information. This article offers resources for older adults, family caregivers and health care providers, including resources from AARP, Family Caregiver Alliance and others.

Most likely, dementia does not increase risk for COVID-19, just like dementia does not increase risk for flu. However, dementia-related behaviors, increased age and common health conditions that often accompany dementia may increase risk. This article offers tips for individuals caring for people living with dementia.

Talk with Your Children

An article that offers a list of ways you can talk to your kids about the coronavirus. This article is intended to help you introduce a challenging topic to your children in a simple way that they can easily digest.

So what should you tell kids about the coronavirus, and how? This article shares tips from a pediatrician, two psychologists, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and a safety expert.

Discuss Care Wishes and What Matters Most

Articles

Talking about death is ultimately talking about life — about who and what matters to us, and how we can live well even when we are dying. Rather than being motivated by fear and anxiety, we can open these discussions from a place of care and concern.

We can’t control how this pandemic plays out. But we can control who speaks for us if we’re unable to speak for ourselves, and we can take the time to make sure they know what matters most to us. Have the conversation today.

A beautiful piece by Ira Byock, MD about how in midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, he has come to terms with his mortality and through this has been motivated to live life more fully. His piece highlights the importance about sharing what matters most to you with those who matter most.

This piece talks about the power of conversations, engaging patients in the gray area of trying to maximize length of life and quality of life and minimize suffering in the context of a serious illness. The goal is for both physicians and patients to arrive at a shared understanding of patients’ priorities should they be diagnosed with COVID-19.

Planning documents & websites

As part of the Patient and Family Support Resources page in the COVID-19 Toolkit put together by The Center to Advancing Palliative Care (CAPC), this tip sheet can be shared with families so they can plan ahead in the event they become ill, and make their care wishes known. Adapted by the National Patient Advocate Foundation from the PREPARE For Your Care program. Additional information includes links to CDC resources.

As PREPARE For Your Care notes, we are all in this together. You can do your part by making a plan. This plan can help you, your family, friends, and your medical providers.

It is more important than ever that your loved ones and healthcare team understand what matters most to you in the event that you become seriously ill. This guide, produced by Respecting Choices, is designed to help you think through your future healthcare choices.

A comprehensive set of resources and planning steps, as part of Cake’s collection of important conversations and end of life planning articles, whether you are worried about yourself or concerned about the physical and mental health of others. Resources include steps to create a Cake profile for free to discover, document, and share your end-of-life wishes.

MyDirectives’ easy-to-use platform lets people upload their paper directives, advance care plans and portable medical orders, create a digital advance care plan, even add audio and video messages, all for free.  Documents are securely stored and can be easily shared 24/7 and pulled into any electronic medical record.

We know this isn’t an exhaustive list and there are many more resources to help. We will be updating this list as a living document and will be sharing new resources our team currently is developing to help you share what matters most. Please add any resources or articles that have helped you or those in your social circles in the comment section below. We are all in this together.

New York Daily News | Repeat after me: Old people are not disposable, not during the coronavirus crisis or ever

By Dr. Michael Wasserman

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick recently suggested older adults should sacrifice themselves amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This brings forth my greatest fear: that ageism in society will lead leaders and others to look the other way while we die of preventable causes in large numbers.

Patrick must not talk to his grandchildren very much. If he did, he would know that they want his love and not his money. Our society is being given the ultimate ethical test.

Would I forgo my own life to save the life of my grandchild? I would. Would I offer my life for the economy, as they claim? You’ve got to be kidding me.

This is America. While we believe in the free market, we also believe in each other. To throw in the towel at this early stage of the pandemic and offer older adults to the altar of COVID-19 is unconscionable.

The important question for anyone over the age of 60 isn’t whether they want to sacrifice their lives, but whether or not they’ve created and shared an advance care plan. That means making our own personal, individualized choices regarding our health.

Those choices are usually related to how we feel about our cognition, function and quality of life. For instance, I may want my family and my health-care providers to know that if I can no longer recognize my family or continue my love of writing, I wouldn’t find value in my life.

Or, to put it in current terms, if I’m at that level of cognitive function and I get hit with COVID-19, then keep me comfortable. Don’t send me to the hospital and above all, don’t waste valuable ICU resources on me.

That’s not just me. It also happens to be the overwhelming majority of the patients whom I’ve cared for over my 32-year career as a geriatrician.

But someone else may well choose to “have everything done,” as is their right. To repeat: This is America. We’re not supposed to ration health care here. During debate over the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the very notion that we might have “death panels” lit conservatives’ hair on fire.

So we all have a right to say how we want our health managed as we get up there in years. We just have to make it clear.

The good news is the government has actually encouraged physicians and health systems to offer advance care plans to patients. Unfortunately, there’s been little public education about creating one.

There are digital platforms like MyDirectives.com that make it easy to do, and at no cost. Because we are isolating older adults to protect them from the virus, the need for an advance care plan to be readily available through the internet is critical.

Such a plan is not a means to avoid treating an older adult. It’s a means to assure that our health-care wishes are heard. It’s a way to assure that we’re treated with dignity and respect.

What I am fearful of in our society is that ageism will define the care that is delivered to older adults in the coming weeks and months. If an older adult gets COVID-19, starts getting short of breath and ends up in an emergency room, what should happen? Right now there are three scenarios.

If I have an advance care plan filled out and available to the emergency room doctor, and my wishes are to not be put on a ventilator if a poor outcome is expected, then I expect to be treated with palliative and hospice care for comfort.

If I don’t have an advance care plan, and the emergency room doctor assumes that I want everything done, I may end up on a ventilator with prolonged suffering until I die.

Alternatively, because I’m old, I could be assumed to have little value to society, or less value than someone younger than me, and be “allowed” to die.

That is not the health-care system that I was trained in. That is not consistent with the Hippocratic Oath, or the country I love.

Wasserman is a geriatrician and president of the California Association of Long Term Medicine.

View the op-ed in New York Daily News here.

Medical Directive Leaders Urge the Public to Create a Plan Amid COVID-19

by SONDRA FORSYTH

Amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic, leaders with MyDirectives are urging Americans to create an advance care plan and share it with their loved ones. With a strain on the U.S. healthcare system and doctors left to make decisions for people with little to no background on the patient, MyDirectives leaders hope people use this time at home with their loved ones to outline their healthcare wishes.

“Advance care planning and having a record of a patient’s health priorities is critically important in terms of helping families navigate through this health crisis and allowing healthcare professionals more flexibility in delivering care during an uncertain time,” said Dr. Brian Yeaman, MyDirectives’ medical director for clinical informatics and workflows. Dr. Yeaman also shared, in a recent segment with CommonWell TV, “At the end of the day, we want better, safer care for our patients, and that’s at the heart of everything that we’re doing.”

“Yes, everyone should wash their hands, keep them off their face, and stay home unless absolutely critical they leave. This global health crisis is a reminder for all of us how we should prepare for a crisis and it absolutely should include creating an advance care plan that can be found by healthcare providers and loved ones in a crisis,” said Jeff Zucker, CEO of MyDirectives. “Most of us will have more time at home with our loved ones. There is  no better time to talk about your healthcare wishes than now.”

three generations at home

“MyDirectives provides users with unparalleled freedom to personalize their advance care planning to ensure their health priorities are available to their families and medical professionals,” said Kerry Weems, Former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “As our lives change, so do our health priorities which is why MyDirectives’ mobile app allows users to update their plan quickly and easily while they’re on the go.”

Information about this 21st-century emergency medical care plan can be found at MyDirectives.com. Everyone over the age of 18 can complete their plan in minutes or take as long as they need to feel confident.

About MyDirectives:

With consumer users in over 40 countries, MyDirectives®, a service of Dallas, Texas-based ADVault, Inc., is the world’s leading all-digital advance care planning platform. MyDirectives lets people create, store, update and share the free MyDirectives digital advance care plan or upload any third-party digital or paper-based advance directive (such as documents from Caring Conversations®Five Wishes®, the VA form 10-0137 (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) advance care plan or portable medical order document. Additional information can be found at MyDirectives.com or this TEDx Talk.

Kerry Weems speaks to Talk Media News about advance care planning in the age of COVID-19

“An advance care plan says, in the event i’m not able to speak for myself here is the treatment course that I would like, and here are the individuals that can speak for me. The great think about advance care planning is it’s moved into the 21st century…Now there’s a way to do it on your smart phone and do it for free. There are companies including MyDirectives.com that allow you to create an advance care plan for yourself, on your smart phone and share it with your loved ones.” Kerry Weems, former acting CMS Administrator on Talk Media News