A seriously and chronically ill patient is brought into the emergency room for breathing difficulties and is rapidly put on a breathing tube and connected to a ventilator.  They have no advanced directives and have had no conversation with their primary care or specialist physicians about what to expect from their illness in the future. Their physicians are not part of the treatment plan in the hospital.

The patient is transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) and their heart, kidneys and liver begin to malfunction. The ICU team members do not know the patient or the family and have to break the bad news to them and ask if they “want” them to continue aggressive measures meaning does the family want continuation of the ventilator and CPR if needed as the patient’s condition declines. The family are understandably emotionally overwhelmed and often have conflicting opinions about what to do and are worried about the implications of “pulling the plug”.

The team orders a palliative care consult to work with the family to make the difficult decision. Palliative care does not know the patient or the family and are sent into the middle of the conflict to help.

Imagine now that this same situation is happening to thousands of patients and families every day in ICUs across the country. How can we change this process to one that supports patients and their families for generations going forward?

Iris Plans works with people experiencing serious conditions along with their families or caregivers to empower an advanced care planning (ACP) discussion. Very few people have access to high quality ACP because it takes two things that are in short supply: time and the right skill set. At Iris Plans we have both in abundance. We hope that you or your loved one will trust us to stand beside you at an emotional time so that we may bring this critical service into your lives.  We encourage you to learn more about our services and to contact us with any questions.

 

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