Driving in to work this week, I was listening to WUNC (our NPR affiliate) and I heard a very interesting story. It’s all about how a pioneering living will program called Respecting Choices is leading the way in the entire country when it comes to end-of-life planning.
The program costs Gunderson Lutheran Hospital millions of dollars a year – money that’s built into the overhead costs of the organization. But its value is beyond measure. By helping patients and their families make more informed choices toward the end of life, it is actually making care better.
The result of all this attention is that nearly all adults who die in La Crosse, 96 percent of them die with a completed advance directive. That’s by far the highest rate in the country.
I’d read an article a while back in The New Yorker magazine about how much money we spend in this country on healthcare in the last years of life. It’s beyond belief how much we pour into an essentially futile effort to prolong life. But it’s an extremely emotional subject, and one that made me aware how much my wife and I need to plan for the end of our lives.
Listen to the NPR story here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120346411
How you would handle an end of life situation for a spouse, loved one, or yourself? Please share your thoughts!