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  • Tool Helps Facilitate Conversations About End of Life Medical Care

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The name Hosparus means, “We Guide Our Guests.” Helping patients and families experience the end of life with as much care and thought as any other part of life is what we do best. Patients and families often tell us that one way Hosparus provides comfort at the end of life is by showing them where and how they can effectively manage a situation that seems out of their control.

We encourage all our patients who are able to do so, to have a conversation with us, family members and loved ones that make clear the patient’s wishes about how they want to live — the quality of life they want to enjoy for the time they have. This conversation includes wishes for end of life medical care and treatments.

But hospice care is limited to the last six months of life. With new medications, treatments and procedures, it is not uncommon for a person to live two, three, four or more years with a serious, life-limiting illness. As those illnesses advance, medical treatments and hospitalizations become more frequent – often times in emergency situations when there is little time to understand the treatments or discuss the desires of the patient. The conversation about patient wishes needs to happen sooner.

Kentucky now has a new form called MOST – Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment — that helps address that situation.
MOST is a brief, simple, standardized form (a sample can be found here) that helps seriously ill or frail patients document their wishes for medical treatments, including resuscitation, intubation, use of oral and IV medications and nourishment, use of antibiotics and comfort measures.

The Kentucky Association of Hospice and Palliative Care (KAHPC) has developed Frequently Asked Questions about MOST, which help provide more detail about how it works. Click here.

The MOST form is only completed after having a conversation with a physician about the patient’s wishes. The completed document is a medical order that travels with the patient for every medical event – planned or emergency. The MOST document is backed by the promise of healthcare professionals to honor those wishes. MOST is completely voluntary and can be changed at any time the patient chooses.

MOST is a very new program – only signed into law last year. Healthcare professionals are just now being introduced to its value and use. I am writing about it now because it is an important document that offers patients and families another level of control in a situation that can seem out of control.

Those who are interested, and know of someone who is seriously ill or medically fragile, should read the links in this blog and then ask his or her physician about having a conversation about end of life care wishes.
In my role as CEO of Hosparus and current President of the KAHPC, I look forward to helping spread the word about the many benefits of MOST and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the best quality of life possible for as long as they live.