Letters to the Editor

Palliative care

National Healthcare Decisions Day was April 16. It exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.

It is an initiative to encourage all adults over 18 years of age to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes. National Healthcare Decisions Day’s 2016 theme was, “It always seems too early, until it’s too late.”

PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation has developed an informative educational tool for Whatcom County residents that clearly describes the medical specialty known as palliative care.

The document, developed in partnership with various community partners, has a triple aim: to raise awareness about the growing need to expand palliative care outside the walls of the hospital; to inform the public of the many benefits of palliative care, which improves quality of life, not only for patients but for their caregivers, with prolonged survival and lower medical costs; and to generate the necessary funding to offer patient-centered care to the right person, in the right place, at the right time — every time.

PeaceHealth St. Joseph’s palliative care expansion effort is rolling out prior to National Healthcare Decisions Day. Palliative care and advance directives go hand-in-hand.

I urge you to support PeaceHealth St. Joseph’s community-based, outpatient palliative care mission and to complete your advance directives. In doing so, we all win!

Micki Jackson, Bellingham