Expert talks planning for “end of life” with health professionals and public

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – In life, we prepare for everything from buying a house or car, to who we marry and how to spend retirement, but often times not enough attention is given to “the end of life.”

Folks met at the Pitt County Council on Aging to have a serious conversation about the process of dying.

Dr. Nancy Berlinger of the Hastings Center led the presentation titled “Beyond good deaths and angry families; Improving care for people near the end of life.”

Dr. Berlinger discussed palliative care and the challenges associated with making medical decisions later in life. She said it important to start the conversation with your loved ones and healthcare providers as early as possible. It’s also important to document all of your medical wishes in writing. END OF2 LIFE

North Carolina offers the Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (MOST) form to ensure people’s wishes for life-prolonging measures or the lack thereof are honored.

“This isn’t just what you want at the moment of death, but how you want to live your life,” Dr. Berlinger said. “What are the things that you care about, your goals and hopes?”

The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (H.R. 3119)–otherwise known as PCHETA is currently in the federal legislature. The bill would appropriate funds to train medical professionals on ways to improve care for people who are dying.

The event was sponsored by the End of Life Care Coalition of Eastern Carolina and funded by the Vidant Health Foundation Community Benefit Grant.

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