From Our Chief Medical Officer
I would like to share with you why Advance Care Planning (ACP) is so personal to me. Before practicing in this field of medicine, I was in a different specialty where I took care of patients who were very sick and needed to come into the hospital for emergent or urgent care. I felt as though I was a doing a good job meeting the needs of the patients and families we served.
I was mistaken.
I grew up living with my grandparents, Ama and Pop. They were my childhood heroes, and that didn’t change once I became an adult. I am certain that their generous love catalyzed who I am today. It was during my early years as a physician when they were both diagnosed with serious illnesses. Ama with breast cancer, and Pop with dementia. I watched as they went through these illnesses. If you’ve seen someone you care about go through this, then you know that words are inadequate to describe what the patient and your family went through. Even though I am a physician, I struggled to find a way to help them. While I knew there must have been easier paths to make this journey, I didn’t know how to find them. These skills were not taught in medical school.
The diseases would progress and eventually take their lives. I felt like a failure when it came to helping my own family feel prepared and act as a guide for Ama and Pop through their respective journeys. I spent a good deal of time considering how I could make them proud, and how I could honor them in what I do each day. I became determined to personalize the focus of my professional life so that I would excel at helping future patients and families to avoid what I couldn’t with my own. I’ve now done this successfully with thousands of people. I can’t emphasize enough what a difference it makes for everyone involved.
True ACP is not about filling out forms, it’s about the 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. I 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 and improve upon your journey.
Stephen Bekanich, M.D.